The chief justice of the Sindh High Court, on July 14, expressed annoyance and concern over the escape of seven prisoners undergoing trial in high-profile cases from courts in Karachi, and summoned a slew of senior officials, including the provincial home secretary and the police chief to explain this. Just two days later, on July 16, yet another prisoner escaped from Karachi’s city court. The provincial home secretary and the police chief certainly have a fair number of critical questions to answer.
Earlier on July 11, three prisoners being tried for kidnapping for ransom escaped from the toilet of a heavily guarded Anti-Terrorism Court by cutting through the iron bars of the window of the toilet. Just a few days later, four Taliban militants believed to be involved in various acts of terrorism managed to get away from the City Courts. It is hard to believe that police personnel were not involved in assisting them. In the first case, the prisoners had evidently brought in tools to cut through the iron with them, and these were not detected. It is quite clear that in the case of the Taliban militants, too, adequate security arrangements were not in place.
There have been previous escapes from courts in Karachi and yet, measures were not taken to prevent the mishap again. It is obvious that persons detained for various offences are able to make an escape in far too many cases. Combined with the general lack of efficiency of police investigation, this means that too many people get away, quite literally, with murder. The chief justice of the Sindh High Court is quite right to be appalled. Similar incidents have been occurring for a long time. The issue needs to be addressed firmly and measures put in place to guard against such escapes so that some sense of law can be re-established and people guilty of crime punished for them after undergoing a proper process of trial before the courts. This does not happen in far too many cases and responsibility needs to be attributed for this.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2013.
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