Professing his ignorance over the situation prior to the DI Khan jailbreak, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Tuesday said he had been assured the security situation was under control.
“No prior intelligence regarding this incident was shared,” claimed Khattak, while addressing reporters at the K-P Assembly’s premises.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan insurgents armed with mortars and grenades launched a major attack on the Central Prison in Dera Ismail Khan late on Monday. Twelve policemen were killed in the attack, while at least 248 prisoners escaped.
The CM added he was shocked the government had issued funds to prisons to purchase jammers and weapons because they were nowhere to be seen.
Khattak proceeded to inform the successful jailbreak was not a “myth” and hundreds of militants had actually escaped the prison. “No one was there to do anything to stop them,” he asserted.
Tacitly placing responsibility for the prison assault on intelligence agencies and the home department, the CM maintained it was completely their fault. Khattak termed the incident a sad lapse of security which intelligence agencies failed to contain.
At the same time, the CM claimed he was unable to visit DI Khan due to inclement weather. “However, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the special branch will take stock of the situation.”
Shedding light on what he did know about the attack, Khattak said he was informed about the deaths of two people. The CM’s figures were much lower than other reports. Some 185 inmates had managed to escape, of which 30 to 35 were high-profile militants, he said.
Expressing further disbelief, Khattak questioned how it was possible for 150 attackers to cross security barricades set up across the city and free inmates in a successful attack on the jail.
He said his government would strictly deal with those responsible for these incidents. “This issue belongs to both the provincial and federal governments,” said Khattak, adding the federal government had not contacted the province to discuss the issue as yet. “They should have contacted us to take stock of the situation,” he asserted.
Earlier, the CM had released a statement condemning the attack and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
In the statement, Khattak expressed deep concern over the loss of lives in the attack and termed the deadly assault a failure on the part of intelligence departments. The statement also added strict action would be taken against those who were negligent in their duties at the prison.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.