GILGIT: Jail authorities in Gilgit Baltistan said extraordinary security measures have been adopted to avoid any untoward incident as eight prisoners were shifted from District Jail Gilgit to District Jail Ghizer in northeast of Pakistan on Tuesday.
“We have deployed law enforcing agencies around the Jails and personnel of police have also been placed at the disposal of jail authorities to make sure that inmates live in a peaceful atmosphere” Inspector General Prisons Wasil Khan told Dawn.com.
The official said situation in the whole country was not a hidden secret and since most of the prisoners here were facing cases in sectarian violence so enhancing security was the need of hour.
Citing some recent incidents of jailbreaks in the country, Wasil Khan said paramilitary troops including GB scouts, Punjab Rangers, Frontier Constabulary and GB Police have been deployed at the security of jails.
Dozens of heavily-armed Pakistani Taliban insurgents had freed nearly 175 inmates, including 35 ‘high-profile militants’, during a brazen overnight attack on the central jail in Dera Ismail Khan on July 30 this year.
However, it was not the first instance when militants attempted to free their captive associates in Pakistan, nearly 400 prisoners including militants had escaped on April 15, 2012 from Bannu Jail after an attack by insurgents armed with guns, grenades and rockets.
“Since the capability of jail officials was not satisfactory thus we requested the government to provide us law enforcement agencies,” said Wasil Khan.
He disclosed that the jail wardens had no weapons and they were not provided with uniforms.
The IG Jail said the condition of the prisons was dilapidated in the region and entire GB lacked a central jail, adding that dangerous prisoners live with under trial inmates.
He said incomplete prison buildings were handed over to them in Chilas, Ghizer, Astore and Skardu and despite several requests for finishing their construction work, the contractors were least bothered to listen to them.
The jails here lack reformatory schools and there was no set up for women as well as minors and jail authorities were left with no option other than to keep them with males but separately, said Khan. “We have 308 prisoners against the capacity for 200,” he added.
According to jail manual, Wasil Khan said, those who were sentenced for five or more than five years jail terms cannot live with those who were under trial but in the region dangerous inmates live with common prisoner.
He said the Hunza/Nagar district has no jail and its prisoners are also sent to Gilgit who add burden on an already low capacity prison. He disclosed that so far only 10 prisoners managed to escape from captivity and among them six were rearrested and others were still at large.
The IG jails said recently 10 officers were inducted and hoped things inside jails would improve but stressed the need for setting up reformatory schools and other trainings for the prisoners so that they could find job once they were released.
He, however, said that first batch of jail officials trained in Prisoners Academy Lahore have joined the team and more were being sent to undergo training. This was happening for the first time, he added.
Wasil Khan said the government must declare a central jail anywhere in the region so that matters related with inmates could be administered in accordance with the law.