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Country’s first high-security prison ‘ready for opening’

Updated January 14, 2015

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In this representative photo, a high security prison can be seen. — AP/File
In this representative photo, a high security prison can be seen. — AP/File

LAHORE: The country’s first-ever high security prison in Sahiwal, set up to detain dangerous and high-profile prisoners linked with terrorism and sectarianism is ready for inauguration, that is likely next month.

The jail which has been constructed on 98 acres with an estimated cost of Rs930.206 million will have capacity to hold 1,044 prisoners.

Sources in Punjab prisons department said a summary had been moved to seek special allowance for the jail officials to encourage them, especially when dealing with high-profile prisoners in even ordinary jails was considered a potential risk for jailers and their subordinates.

The sources said initially prisoners serving terms in ordinary cases would be transferred to the jail on trial basis, to be followed by those relating to terrorism and sectarian cases from across the country.

They said the the new jail was speedily completed and made ready to function following the announcement of National Action Plan by the federal government, and establishment of military courts, speedy trails and executions of terrorists.

The breakup of the new jail’s structure, staff strength and the equipment installed there shows that as many as 841 officials ranking from superintendent orderly (BS-1) to jail superintendent (BS-19) have been recruited by the prisons department on temporary basis with a cost of Rs488.826million.

The Punjab government had hired services of National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) Haripur to install security gadgets, IT-related equipment and CCTV surveillance system at the jail. The facility has so far got a control room, switch room, fire alarm system, 18 PTZ Dom and 410 CCTV cameras, three UPS, Server, NVR (configuration and amounted, four blocker barrier, three tyre killers, under vehicle surveillance system, besides electro-mechanical barriers.

Moreover, three single-cabin four-wheel vehicles for outside patrolling, one 1,300CC car, one ambulance, a tractor (Massey) with trolley, one triller, one thresher, and two motorcycles have also been purchased afor the jail at a cost of Rs27.607million.

The department has paid Rs49.117 million to Wah Industries Taxila to acquire 100 G-3 rifles, 100 semi automatic, 50 AK-47 Russian rifles, 40 short guns, 20 pressure guns, 10 sniper rifles, 25 pistols, 50 bulletproof jackets, 50 bulletproof helmets, five stun guns, and as many tear gas guns for the facility.

Besides, light armoured vehicles (Mohafiz), six MGE with accessories, 100 GEAE with accessories, 50 SMG PK, 100 MP-5-A3 and 5,000 Ammo will also be among the items purchased for the jail.

The technical evaluation of 22 medical equipment items, including an X-Ray machine, clinical lab, ultra-sound machine, ECG machine, dental chair and an operation theatre has been completed.

Kitchen utensils worth Rs0.678 million and furniture worth Rs1.301million have already been purchased.

NRTC VISIT: A team of NRTC officials also paid a visit to the Inspectorate of Punjab Prisons on Tuesday and gave green signal to the authorities to make the new facility functional.

Sources said the team also discussed installation of more CCTV cameras to monitor residential localities near the new jail.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2015

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