The Punjab government has released Rs300 million worth of funds to the Prisons Department as part of its strategy to improve security at jails.
The government took a number of initiatives to improve jail security after the Taliban attack on Bannu Jail.
In addition to purchasing weapons, said Mian Farooq Nazir, the inspector general (Prisons), the funds will be used to purchase security equipment, train jail staff and to construct ‘shield walls’ around jails. There were 32 jails in the province, including one for females.
According to a department official, they were planning on buying 700 G3 rifles and 150 sophisticated pistols. The rifles would be given to low-rank officials while deputy superintendants and jail superintendants will get the pistols.
As many as 350 search lights are also on the list. Each jail will get 10. The plan also includes constructing a 10-foot high wall around all central jails of the province, where activists from banned organisations and terror suspects are held.
The Prison Department will ink an agreement with the Pakistan Army, under which prison officials will be trained in how to use artillery. A total of 4,500 officials will receive the 15-day training at the Attock Artillery Centre in batches of 200.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.
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