KARACHI: Shocking revelations relating to the escape of two high-profile prisoners, Sheikh Muhammad Mumtaz alias Firaun and Muhammad Ahmed Khan alias Munna of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, have surfaced. The investigation report of the incident reveals collapsed security and poor internal conditions at Central Jail, Karachi. A report prepared by Counter-Terrorism Department AIG Sanaullah Abbasi and submitted to the police chief revealed that central jail was being run by militants rather than the jail administration.
Out of fear or due to their ineptitude, the staff complies with their orders, due to which the prisoners have been working as court clerks and helpers and also perform the jail warden’s duty. The prisoners undertook the warden’s responsibilities and enjoyed his perks as well.
These prisoners, such as militants including Hafiz Rasheed, Sarmad Siddiqui and MQM’s Minhaj Qazi, act as prison dons and also control their external networks. The report further revealed that the central jail prisoners themselves carry the court production orders. They even enjoy the freedom to make arrangements
Home Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez told Express News that on the application of the jail administration informing about the presence of drugs, mobile phones and other things, the jail administration, police forces and Rangers conducted a joint operation. Cases against the jail staff have also been registered.
Pervez shared that the home minister had rejected the recommendations of Additional IG Aftab Khan to depute PSP officers instead of jail officers, saying that he had surpassed his mandate by making such recommendations. He had been given the mandate to look into the case of DSP Zahid Hussain and instead sent recommendations regarding the jail administration, for which he has no authority, said Pervez. To a question regarding staff shortage, he said the Public Service Commission (PSC) has been requested to resolve the staff shortage issue so that the hiring process could be initiated. He said that police are responsible for providing the jail vans to transport prisoners to courts. “Around 85% matters are fixed, only a few remaining matters are unattended and will be resolved soon,” said Pervez.
In light of the apex committee decision and responding to an intelligence report on a possible Karachi jailbreak plan, the Sindh government has shifted the dangerous prisoners to various jails in rural Sindh, and ordered the prison authorities to keep the jail details under wraps and also keep an eye on the activities of the prisoners. According to a source in the home department, the heads of the federal intelligence institutions informed Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah during the apex committee meeting on November 15, 2017, that a plan to break into Central Jail, Karachi has been devised and prisoners associated with a militant group would be set free.
In the light of the report, the CM issued directives to the jails IG to shift all the dangerous inmates to jails in rural Sindh, after which in September or October, militants and dangerous prisoners were shifted to the Sukkur, Larkana, and
Prisoners like Rasheed have boasted of being responsible for the murder of DSP Kamal, IG Mangan’s brother. They say they can easily get to any of the jail staff, which in turn scares the staff, who no longer exercise their authority over militant prisoners.
Regarding security arrangements at the jail, it was said that the judicial complex under construction beside the jail is being supervised by several contractors.
Evidence has been found that indicates the involvement of external facilitators who must have come as labourers to set the prisoners free because judicial complex contractors do not make proper security arrangements and also do not keep a check on the daily wage workers. The escaped prisoners and the facilitators must have taken advantage of the
security lapse. It was said in the report that though 15 officers and workers had been arrested, many prisoners are also suspected of assisting the escaped prisoners.
In light of the report, Additional IG Aftab Pathan, who is himself a Pakistan Police Service (PSP) officer, wrote a letter to home department, demanding replacement of the jail DIGs and jailers with PSP officers. This request was denied.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2018.