Four under-trial prisoners escaped from a jail in Astore district late Monday night.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police Ali Sher told The Express Tribune the four inmates fled through a hole they made in the roof of their cell. The prisoners also wounded a jail official by hitting him in the head with his pistol that they snatched from him during escape, said the official.
Sher said that an extensive search operation has been launched to nab the prisoners who were under trial for murder and theft charges. The official said the area has been cordoned off and 12 houses have been raided so far. He said the police have been ordered to thoroughly check every vehicle that enters or leaves the area. “Raids will continue till the arrest of the absconders,” Sher added.
Sher said that two jail officials on duty have been suspended and an inquiry has been initiated.
The incident came barely a week after five inmates managed to escape from the district jail in Chilas after breaking the lock of their cell. Four of the inmates were allegedly involved in the Karakoram Highway (KKH) bus carnage in April, in which 10 Shia passengers travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit were killed.
Meanwhile, the deputy inspector said the police have arrested another suspect in connection with a bomb attack on a commuter van two days back in Gilgit that left one passenger dead and four injured. The arrest has increased the total number of people arrested in the case to 11.
“We are moving in the right direction and hope things will become clearer soon,” Sher added.
The attack on the passenger van occurred near Minawar, as an explosive device attached beneath a culvert was triggered as a passenger van, on its way to Haramosh, crossed over it.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.