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A resident sits outside the district jail in Pakistan's northern area of Gilgit on February 27, 2015, from which a key terror suspect, Habib-ul-Rehman managed to escape. — AFP
A resident sits outside the district jail in Pakistan's northern area of Gilgit on February 27, 2015, from which a key terror suspect, Habib-ul-Rehman managed to escape. — AFP

GILGIT: Initial investigations into the jailbreak in Gilgit have revealed that the inmates had carried out the daring act with help from the prison’s security staff.

Danyor Station House Officer Ghulaam Muhammad and one of the runaway prisoners were injured after police encircled them in Minwar town, 13km from the jail, but the fugitives still managed to escape.

Gilgit-Baltistan police chief Zaffar Iqbal Awan told Dawn that police and other security forces had launched a search operation on Friday evening after receiving an intelligence tip and a clash took place in a hilly area near Minwar.

He said police had sealed off roads near a river, but the besieged prisoners jumped into a ditch and escaped.

Read| GB jail escape: Man involved in Nanga Parbat massacre among two fleeing prisoners

He said the SHO and one of the fugitives were injured in the encounter.

The official said police had found some drugs, dates and other items left by the fleeing prisoners.

He said the search operation had been extended to Padi, Thalichi and areas bordering Diamer district.

Mr Awan said police were checking medical stores and private hospitals in the area to trace the injured prisoner.

He conceded that the jailbreak attempt by four prisoners had been assisted by some members of the security staff within the prison, but said an investigation was under way.

He said seven jail staff personnel and three religious leaders had been arrested.

Gilgit cantonment police registered a case against Tanzeem Alfaroqia leaders Mir Baz, Jamshid and Inaam and Gilgit Jail wardens Akbar Zaman and Musa Alam, head constable Saifuddin, dispenser Aziz, constable Mohammad Afzal and Frontier Constabulary’s constable Arif and obtained their physical remand for seven days from an anti-terrorism court.

A joint investigation team is dealing with the case under the supervision of Home Secretary Sibtain Ahmed.

POLICE INVESTIGATION: According to initial police investigation, 102 prisoners, including 25 sentenced to death by ATCs, were in the prison at the time of the jailbreak.

They included four men involved in the killings near Nanga Parbat of foreign tourists and their guide and two in the assassination of SSP Hilal Khan and two army officers in Diamer.

Hazrat Bilal, Dilbar Khan, Liaqat and Habibul Rahman of Diamer were kept in barrack-6.

The investigation showed that the four prisoners made a plan to flee on Thursday evening with the help of some members of the security staff.

Their barrack was locked but it had been opened on Friday morning to let them flee. Under the jail rules, the gate may be opened for high-profile prisoners only after permission from the jail superintendent and they may be taken out in case of an emergency with handcuffs, amid tight security.

The investigation also revealed that pistols had been provided to the prisoners from within the jail.

The prisoners went to the jail mosque and entered the dispensary after breaking a window.

From the dispensary they went to the western side of the jail near the boundary wall.

The prisoners scaled the 14-foot wall and jumped onto the Riverview Road at about 2.30am without facing resistance.

When they came to the road, policemen on patrol tried to intercept them, but they opened fire.

Police killed Bilal and injured Dilbar in the clash, while Liaqat and Habib fled.

The body and the injured prisoner were taken to the Kashorat hospital.

Initial reports said the jail security had been enhanced after a decision to transfer major cases of terrorism to military courts and personnel of Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts, Frontier Constabulary and police were on duty at the time.

Interestingly, Chief Secretary Sikandar Sultan Raja suspended Prisons Inspector General Muhammad Faisal who had himself taken the same action earlier against a deputy superintendent, an assistant superintendent, a head warden and two wardens after the incident.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2015

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Comments (14) Closed

razzaq Mar 01, 2015 07:50am

follow them and bring them to justuce

imran Mar 01, 2015 08:39am

What a joke. Why on earth don't we make special high security prisons for these terrorists?

Archie Mar 01, 2015 09:04am

This is how state actors conspire with non state actors ...

guest Mar 01, 2015 10:51am

Wow jailbreak? That's serious.

Mehtab Mar 01, 2015 01:19pm

There are terrorists' sympathisers in Gilgit Baltistan government. Shame on you traitors

ishrat salim Mar 01, 2015 01:39pm

This is a scene from the film " Prison Break "...keep it up guys. No security watch tower at the back...of course, we never learn from our mistakes, as we do not share problems & solutions between each provinces...hence, we shall remain in mess.

Rustam Ali Khan Mar 01, 2015 03:16pm

Every one played his role so efficiently in gettinf the high profile killers out of the jail without any resistance. Jail administration provided them pistols, food and other logistics and opened the cell door after midnight. There was no electricity at that time as usual (thanks to PWD/WAPDA). There was no guard stationed on the side towards Gilgit river. So a brilliant job done and thumbs up to the chief secretary, home secretary, care taker political gvt, police and the jail administration. Well done

KHALID SOHAIL SHAIKH Mar 01, 2015 04:25pm

I have repeatedly stated that, no tolerance for black sheep. This is the duty of each organization to catch black sheep of family. Who else can do?

Muk-Muka Mar 01, 2015 05:09pm

Lock them corrupt, greedy and incompetent jail officials for next twenty years to send a clear message to other would-be criminal officials. Absense of harsh punishments has embolden criminals and their supporters in the country. Needless to say, people of Pakistan continue to suffer. Thanks to 'high' calibre of 'elected' politicians, collecting big salary and perks, all paid by pakistani tax payers.

Zak Mar 01, 2015 05:42pm

Hang the abetted as well

adi Mar 01, 2015 07:38pm

why are they breaking out when they can be safe in jail with tv internet and as many visitors as possible..must be crazy

Rose Mar 01, 2015 08:47pm

Sure now they are in India.

NaMaaloom Fard Mar 01, 2015 09:01pm

Such high profile terrorists being held in a minimum security prison needs attention as well. The highly underpaid and overworked police collaborating with terrorists is not surprising.

Syed Ganga Din Mar 01, 2015 10:32pm

They jumped into a ditch and escaped? Does that make any sense?