ISLAMABAD, July 31: With the latest incident of jailbreak in D.I. Khan, the ministry of interior has decided to immediately start constructing a prison in Islamabad for prisoners involved in anti-state activities and terrorism.
An officer of the ministry on the condition of anonymity told Dawn that the Islamabad capital territory administration had been directed to start work on the project in no time.
Though there was no allocation made in the 2013-14 budget, the government has decided to arrange Rs70 million and release the amount for the project on priority basis.
After its completion, not only prisoners belonging to Islamabad will be shifted to the new prison from Adiala Jail but also those involved in anti-state activities and terrorism in other parts of the country will be brought to the capital city, he added.
“If prisoners involved in sensitive crimes and terrorism are kept in Islamabad, militants would have no reason to attack jails in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” said the officer.
He added that according to the ICT administration, 90 acres of land worth Rs72 million had been purchased in Sector H-16 for the prison. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has handed over the land to the local administration.
“It has been decided that the design of the jail will be selected after a competition among architects. A private company has demanded Rs1.4 million for holding such a competition with the assurance that the design of the model prison will be ready within two months,” he said.
The registrar Islamabad High Court and the chief commissioner will oversee the project. “The construction work will be started by October 15,” the officer said.
An official of the ICT administration said though the project had been under discussion since 2009, due to unavailability of funds work could not be started.
The previous government had also announced that a prison would be established in Islamabad to ease burden on Adiala jail.
However the present government wants the jail for keeping hardened criminals to avoid an incident similar to the one in D.I. Khan.
“Now the ministry of interior is taking an interest in the project and work on the jail construction will start soon.” He said the project would be completed in six months after start of the work.
The boundary of the model prison will be constructed at a cost of Rs13 million.
The official said at the moment there were 4,000 prisoners in Adiala Jail, out of whom around 1,000 were charged with involvement in crimes in the capital territory. So they will be shifted to Islamabad after the construction of the prison.
The model prison will have the capacity of accommodating 2,000 prisoners at a time. Prisoners involved in terrorism and other heinous crimes in other provinces can also be kept in the jail, he said.
“Currently, we send our prisoners to Adiala Jail which is located in Punjab, so it becomes an issue of security. Sometimes, prisoners cannot be moved to the courts in Islamabad because of VIP movements or protests in the capital city,” he said.
When contacted, spokesman for the ICT administration Rana Akbar Hayat said Chief Commissioner Jawad Paul was taking interest in the construction of the model prison. He aid funds for the project had been released.