SAHIWAL: The first full-fledged High Security Prison (HSP) of Pakistan, which is likely to be functional next month, has been set up in the urban area, posing a threat to offices and educational institutions.
The HSP has been set up on 98 acre land which is adjacent to four educational institutions having more than 25,000 students. The Sahiwal Medical College, Government Postgraduate College, Cathedral School and Divisional Public School and College are located at four corners of the prison.
Some posh urban localities -- Farid Town, Scheme No 2 and 3 -- are also located a few yards from HSP.
The offices of commissioner, regional police, DCO, DPO, 24 EDOs and district council building are also situated within a kilometre radius of the prison. Three major churches, including Catholic Church, are located along a side road of the jail.
Schools, govt offices, churches located near jail
Talking to this correspondent, political and rights activists said nowhere in the world HSPs were developed within urban hubs.
Sources told Dawn that during 2004 -05 the Sahiwal district council passed a resolution opposing establishment of the prison in urban area.
Ex-commissioner Sher Alam Mahsood had floated a proposal to shift HSP from Sahiwal to Pakpattan and to some extent Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had agreed, but it was not worked out, a prison department source told this correspondent.
A number of people are complaining that it has become difficult to make mobile phone calls within a 50-metre radius of the jail because of installation of highly sophisticated jammers.
Dawn has talked to many high-ups of Sahiwal Central Jail and they all are of the view that HSP must be outside Sahiwal.
Chaudhry Zaki, PPP district president, says the jail must be shifted from city population.
Hammad Afzal, a youth from Farid Town locality says, there has been a major problem with mobile phone calls.
“All cellular companies’ numbers cannot be dialled from a 500-metre radius of the jail.” Prof Abdul Salam Dolla says none can make a call as the college is just a metre away from the prison.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2015