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High profile inmate tops list of fleeing Bannu prisoners

Published Apr 16, 2012 04:15am

Police personnel standing inside the gate of Bannu Central Jail which is attacked by assailants on 15 April, 2012 Sunday. – Online Photo
Police personnel standing inside the gate of Bannu Central Jail which is attacked by assailants. – Online Photo by Ijaz Mohammad

PESHAWAR: Adnan Rashid, a high profile prisoner who escaped from Bannu Central Prison on Sunday morning, was enjoying the facility of cellular phone inside the death cells of different jails where he was lodged after being sentenced to death by a field general court martial for his alleged attempt on the life of Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf.

A former junior technician of Pakistan Air Force, Adnan Rashid is a resident of Chota Lahor area of Swabi district. He is fluent in English, Pashto and Urdu. He used to contribute to several social networking sites including Blogs and Facebook from the prison. He had joined PAF in 1997. He was around 24 when he was arrested in early 2004.

The escaped prisoner was in contact with the world outside the prison through his cellular phone, according to sources. He was also in touch with several journalists and used to send them messages through short message service (SMS).

Prior to his escape, Adnan continued to plead his innocence and claimed that his only crime was that he had voted “No” in the referendum held by the then military president Gen Musharraf.

He had pinned high hopes on the judiciary led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry when his review petition along with that of several other convicts against their conviction was pending but after dismissal of his petition in March 2011 he started questioning the independence of judiciary.

Recently, he sent a sarcastic SMS to different persons which states: “There are millions of cases pending before high courts and Supreme Court, 99.9 per cent of these are actually appeals against verdicts of lower courts. Billions of rupees are being spent on higher civil courts so why not this judicial system is replaced by military courts; these are swift, require no judge, no special courtrooms or bars, and most interesting court martial are unchallengeable so no more need of high and supreme courts. It saves time and money of nation. What do you think? From a court martial convict.”

In the first life attempt on Gen Musharraf that took place near Jhanda Chichi Bridge at Rawalpindi on Dec 14, 2003, six personnel of PAF including Adnan Rashid were convicted by a field general court martial on Oct 3, 2005, at PAF Base Chaklala.

Besides Adnan, four others -- ex-chief technician Khalid Mehmood, ex-senior technician, Karam Din, ex-corporal Nawazish and ex-junior technician Niaz Mohammad -- were sentenced to death whereas another junior technician, Nasrullah, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Their appeal was dismissed by a PAF appellate court in Feb 2006. Later on, their petitions were dismissed by Lahore High Court on March 28, 2006. Against that judgment they filed appeals before the Supreme Court and a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry rejected the same on Sept 25, 2006.

The bench held that under Article 199 of the Constitution, civil courts had no jurisdiction to issue writ against orders passed by military courts. Their review petitions were also dismissed on March 31, 2011 by the apex court.

A soldier of Pakistan Army, Abdul Islam Siddiqui, who was separately tried in the same case by a court martial, had already been hanged on Aug 20, 2005.

The interviews of Adnan Rashid, when he was in prison, were also uploaded on Facebook, wherein he argued against flaws in Army Act, Pakistan Air Force Act and Navy Act and urged the Supreme Court to intervene in these cases. He had also sent several letters to Chief Justice of Pakistan requesting him to look into the flaws in their cases.

In one of his letters to the chief justice, he claimed that at the time of the said occurrence he was on duty in Quetta and was picked up by personnel of an intelligence agency on Jan 9, 2004.

When he was transferred to civil detention facility, he was initially lodged in a death cell at Haripur prison from where he was shifted to Peshawar jail. In Sept last he was shifted to Bannu prison.One of the reporters receiving regular messages from him said that in almost all the prisons he was having cellular phones. He had to change his number several times as during search operations in the prisons on several occasions he was deprived of his phone. However, after few days he was again enjoying the said facility.