A judicial inquiry into the Bannu jailbreak has revealed that nearly 10 days prior to the incident, police had stopped patrolling the area, said Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan.
CJ Khan was hearing a writ petition filed by the former commissioner of Bannu who was demoted to officer on special duty (OSD) following an incident where more than 200 heavily armed Taliban militants broke into the Bannu Central Jail and released 384 prisoners.
The former commissioner, Abdullah Mehsud, was demoted for failing to respond to the attack.
Mehsood’s counsel Barrister Zahoorul Haque informed the bench that along with other officials, his client was initially suspended on May 28 for three months, but his suspension was extended to three more months.
Haque contended that the other officers were later reinstated, while his clients has undergone two suspension terms.
The bench observed that rules do not allow suspending an official for more than six months and ordered reinstating Mehsood to his former position. The court has also asked the chief secretary to submit a reply into the matter within 15 days.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government had ordered the suspension of 27 senior officials who were found negligent. Departmental inquiry was ordered against the North Waziristan Agency Political Agent Mohammad Yahya, Frontier Constabulary District Officer Sherbat Khan Afridi, Bannu District Coordination Officer Zahir Shah, Frontier Region of Bannu Assistant Political Agent Dafter Khan, FR Bannu Political Tehsildar Sameeullah Khan, ex-commissioner Abdullah Khan Mehsud, former inspector general of prison, former additional inspector general of prisons Shah Salman and former superintendent of Bannu jail Usman Ali amongst others.
On April 17, the Peshawar High Court took suo motu notice of the incident and ordered a judicial inquiry. More than a hundred inmates since then have either surrendered or have been apprehended by the authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2012.