LeJ militants' escape: Committee ordered to act ‘in accordance with the law’

Published: September 28, 2017
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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Wednesday a committee to act strictly in accordance with the law while investigating a case against former prison officials’ involvement in the escape of two suspects associated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) from Central Jail, Karachi.

A two-judge bench also issued notices to the provincial home secretary, the prisons inspector-general and other respondents to file their replies by October 12.

The prisoners – Shaikh Mohammad Mumtaz and Ahmed alias Munna – who were associated with the Hafiz Qasim Rasheed group of the Naeem Bukhari-led LeJ, had escaped from the central prison on June 13 this year.

Both were arrested four years ago in connection with over 60 cases of murder. Mumtaz alone was allegedly involved in the killing of 57 people, including eight to 10 police officials, 23 Muttahida Qaumi Movement workers and a number of others belonging to the Shia community.

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Following the incident, 12 jail officials and personnel were arrested for their negligence in the escape of the suspected militants.

Four officials – including the former jail superintendent Ghulam Murtaza Shaikh, deputy superintendent Faheem Anwar Memon and assistant superintendent Abdul Rehman Shaikh – had obtained bail from the anti-terrorism court-VIII. Each of them was granted bail against a surety bond of Rs100,000. However, the prosecution had approached the high court pleading to cancel bail granted to the four prison officials.

The four officials also petitioned the court against the ongoing inquiry and to seek quashment of the criminal case against them.

In their plea, the former prison officials informed the court that the trial court concerned had granted bail and ordered their release, if their custody was not required in any other case. He alleged that another FIR against unknown persons had been registered and apprehended that they could be implicated in new case under false allegations.

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The former officers argued that they had no confidence in the ongoing investigation against them being conducted by the inquiry committee under the supervision of Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi.

After hearing initial arguments, the bench issued notices to the provincial home secretary, the prisons IG and others to file their comments by October 12. In the meantime, it directed the inquiry committee to act strictly in accordance with the law.

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