Security at central jails in Punjab intensified

Updated December 21, 2014

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Army personnel stand alert to avoid any untoward situation at Kot Lakhpat Jail.— INP
Army personnel stand alert to avoid any untoward situation at Kot Lakhpat Jail.— INP
Troops deployed outside the Kot Lakhpat Jail. — White Star
Troops deployed outside the Kot Lakhpat Jail. — White Star

LAHORE: The Punjab government intensified on Saturday security measures in all central jails of the province, including the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, in the wake of expected execution of more convicted terrorists.

The number of security personnel was raised to 1,000 at the Kot Lakhpat jail where four convicted terrorists were likely to be hanged, an official, requesting anonymity, told Dawn.

He said at least 500 armed personnel of the Prisons Department and around 400 personnel of the Rangers, army and police were deployed in and around the Kot Lakhpat jail to meet any eventuality.

Top officials of central jails in the province had already been conveyed by the federal government through the home department to make arrangements for the execution of the convicted terrorists.

“We were asked on Saturday to follow the instructions that can be passed on any time for the immediate execution of four terrorists at the Kot Lakhpat jail,” the official said, adding no exact time or day was mentioned in the official correspondence to the Prisons Department.

He said almost similar measures had been taken in central jails of Rawalpindi, Multan, Mianwali and Sahiwal.

According to jail sources, out of the four terrorists housed in the Kot Lakhpat jail, three were involved in a terror attack at the army camp in Gujrat near the River Chenab on July 9, 2012. They were identified as Mohammad Kamran, Ahsan Azeem and Umar Nadeem. Seven security personnel were killed in the army camp attack.

They said the fourth terror convict, Muhammad Zahid, had carried out a bomb attack at the Inter Services Intelligence office in Multan in 2009 that killed 32 people, including the security personnel.

Meanwhile, the Lahore police took into custody over 20 suspects, all Afghans, during a search operation particularly launched in the Saddar division and shifted them to undisclosed places for interrogation.

Police sources said more than 60 suspects were taken into custody, but DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf confirmed only 20 arrests.

Witnesses said the security around the Kot Lakhpat jail had increased as police intensified patrolling and check-posts set up on some major arteries leading to the jail.

The police pickets, search operations and other security measures have almost brought routine life and business activities in the adjoining areas of the Kot Lakhpat jail to a standstill.

Hours-long traffic jams on the Katcha Jail Road, Peco Road and some other arteries leading to the jail created a lot of problems for motorists as well as local residents.

Published in Dawn December 21th , 2014