Pre-emptive measures: Haripur Jail security intensified in wake of prison attack

Entry, exit points barricaded, movement around facility restricted from 8pm to 8am.

Muhammad Sadaqat July 31, 2013
Entry, exit points barricaded, movement around facility restricted from 8pm to 8am. PHOTO: FILE

HARIPUR: Security around Haripur Jail has been heightened in wake of the Dera Ismail Khan jailbreak.

Entry and exit points on Jail Road, along with the building and nearby residential areas have been barricaded with elite force officials deployed.

“Yes, we have called in reinforcements from the elite force to make the security more robust,” said Haripur Jail Superintendent Masudur Rahman, while speaking to journalists.

After the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan attacked DI Khan Central Jail late Monday night and freed nearly 248 inmates, prison authorities and police administration officials have put their heads together to revise existing jail security across the province.

In order to avoid a similar attack on Haripur Jail, the second largest prison in the province and a prospective target for militants, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s inspector general of police and military officials visited the jail and reviewed security arrangements. The officials decided to beef up security around the prison and deployed over 200 elite and regular force personnel inside and outside the facility. Men have also been posted outside the jail to guard boundary walls.

Moreover, movement around the jail will be restricted between 8pm and 8am on a daily basis. According to prison officials, security cameras have been installed on the prison’s walls to monitor all activity.

“We are making extraordinary security arrangements to protect the building from any attack,” said DPO Mujeedur Rehman, adding Haripur jail was an important building as it housed over 2,000 inmates including women, juveniles, hardened criminals and militants. Rehman also said the police, jail department and military authorities were closely coordinating with one another to ensure there was no breach of security at the facility.

According to another jail official requesting anonymity, after the Taliban orchestrated the Bannu jailbreak last year all prisons having some militants have come on the Taliban’s hit-list. When asked whether the jail department planned to install mobile phone jammers to prevent inmates from making contact with the outside world, the official said a plan was afoot and the system would likely be put in place soon. “It is the central office in Peshawar that has the power to actually implement this plan, however,” he claimed.

The official also revealed shifting high-profile militants to separately constructed jails had been under discussion for several months, and authorities would decide on this issue very soon.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.