The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Thursday said that two “high-profile militants” of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) who earlier escaped from Karachi’s Central Jail had crossed over to Afghanistan from the Chaman border in Balochistan, DawnNews reported.
In a report submitted to the Sindh home ministry on the orders of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, the CTD said that the police party tailing Shaikh Muhammad Mumtaz, alias Firaun, and Muhammad Ahmed Khan, alias Munna, failed to arrest the two men, DawnNews said.
According to DawnNews, the report also said that the two militants' facilitators were in police custody and were being interrogated at the moment.
Discussing the prisoners' escape to Afghanistan, Shah later said that: "We are investigating how the escaped militants reached Afghanistan and the people who aided them in fleeing will be punished."
"Those whose irresponsibility resulted in the escape of the prisoners [from Central Jail] were punished and sent to jail, but the courts set them free by granting them bail," he added while addressing the media during a visit to Sufi saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi's shrine.
The fugitives had broken out from Karachi's Central Jail on June 13 following a shocking lapse of security at the facility.
The two had been arrested in 2013 by the CTD for their alleged involvement in the killing of over 60 people, mainly members of the Shia community and law enforcers.
Early 'investigations' into the case had stated that the prisoners escaped by breaking through the grill guarding their cell. Jail staff were said to have become aware of their escape on June 14, when the two were supposed to be presented before a court located inside the jail.
Following the incident, on June 15, New Town Police registered a case against 12 jail officials on a complaint of the then DIG Prisons over charges of negligence.
By that time, however, another investigation had revealed that the militants had escaped from the judicial complex inside the prison where they had been brought by jail officials.
The case was then transferred to the CTD, which invoked Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, as their escape caused “fear among the general public and witnesses of pending cases”.
When the CTD took over the case, it arrested the then jail superintendent Ghulam Murtaza Shaikh, deputy superintendent Faheem Anwar Memon and assistant superintendent Abdul Rehman Shaikh on charges of negligence.
On July 18, an antiterrorism court granted bail to the three officials after they, through their counsel, moved bail applications.
Two months after the jail break, on August 18, it emerged that the two escaped convicts had stayed for 10 days in Haripur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before travelling to Balochistan.
With additional reporting by Imtiaz Ali