The Great Escape! And Return?


The Great Escape! And Return?

At around 1 am on Sunday morning, about ‘400-500’ (media reports), around 150 (Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar), heavily armed men stormed into a heavy guarded Bannu jail and freed 384 inmates out of the total number of 944, including one inmate, Adnan Rashid, on death row for the assassination attempt on former president Gen Pervez Musharraf. The attackers engaged the prison guards and police for two hours and even used rocket-propelled grenades. And they managed to escape without any casualties – leaving several questions in the minds of the authorities about the level of their training and the equipment they have.

 

The most interestingly point of this whole incident wasn’t that the attackers (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack) freed the inmates, they have done that before in Afghanistan last year, but that before the day was over more than 100 prisoners returned! And what is astonishing is that they did so of their own free will! This could only happen in Pakistan!

 

These inmates should be given medals for their honesty and integrity. Keeping the state of prisons in our country, amongst other things, in mind, these men sure had the ‘nerve’ to return. They came back…seriously, such integrity and honesty is seldom seen in this land, which is why it has really shocked. These men could have easily slipped away and faded into the populace undetected; in a country where everyone is trying to obstruct the process of law and is trying to evade it for crimes they committed who would have asked any questions.

 

Then why did these men return to be imprisoned once again. I believe this incident will probably go down as a novelty in the history of jailbreaks, and should be investigated…seriously, it’s amazing. These men should be highlighted in the media as role models…. to reveal that there are some people in this country who have some respect for law.

 

According to Geo News, one of the men said ‘that he changed his mind because his term was almost over and the jailbreak would have been of no consequence for him except more trouble’. Good call, on his part. Meanwhile the police claim they have arrested 10 escaped prisoners.

 

Coming back to the Bannu jail attack, according to authorities some militant commanders had been shifted to Bannu jail recently, and they had received intelligence that the Taliban were planning to attack detention centres to free them.

 

And it is obvious that this attack was a meticulously studied and planned one, with every detail that could have proved a hindrance in the operation scrutinized and a way out to the attackers. This was evident from the way the attackers easily overcame the obstacles, from the time they entered the building, gaining access to the most secured areas as well as the other cells and leaving with an extra almost four hundred men with them.

 

The authorities magnanimously admitted that this was a security lapse. They were lucky this time that no bodies fell. But it was a security collapse, mainly because a convoy of vehicles (eye witnesses say the attackers came in 25 heavy vehicles) carrying hundreds of men who entered the city unchecked, unstopped. This convoy left in the same manner without much hindrance taking almost three hundred more people with them. It is probably difficult to miss a huge mass of people, on foot and in vehicles but that they people had the advantage of darkness on their side could work in favour of the authorities.

 

The fact that the attackers came and went without much problem could probably mean they had help inside the building or the prison hierarchy. Until the authority makes sense of this, the top officials including the IG Prisons of Khyber Pakhtunkwa have been removed.

 

Already the security forces have been painfully stretched both physically and mentally in Khyber Puktunkhwa, as well as the rest of the country.The Bannu Jail attack has revealed that the government and security set up has an Achilles’ heel and something needs to be done fast, as the opponent is using this to its advantage.



Lubna Jerar Naqvi

The writer is a senior journalist and writes regularly on human rights and women issues with special focus on social media. She tweets @raiseqalam


  • ajaved

    i wish on return security agencies ambushed their convoy in the same way as they do… or they would have attacked them with cobra helicopter or jet plane ..

  • Khalid Pathan

    Those prisoners who after escaping have returned to of their free will are law abiding as far as this jail break is concerned. Reward them by membership of the parliament. They have proved to be more honest than most members of this rubber stamp parliament.

  • Syed Aamir Ishaque

    Just a few weeks ago our so intrepid interior minisyer has agreed to remove all FC check-posts in Balochistan allowing all Baloch terrorists and the arms to move freely. A few days ago Police and media people were targetted by snipers and sharp shooters in Lea Market and adjoining areas. Pak Rangers avoided helping police. On whose instructions they never entered the area only the Sindh Government knows. A senior police official pin-pointed the gang leaders Sardar Uzair Khan Baloch and Habib Jan as the main culprits responsible for all troubles in the area. What action was taken? This Pashtun and Baloch alliance of terror has to be eliminated. Not all Pashtuns and Baloch are terrorists by all terrorists are either Pashtuns and Baloch. They are not in millions or hundreds of thousand. Only a few thousands in Waziristan, Swat, Fata, and a few thousand more Baloch terrorists in Balochistan and Karachi. It is only a month long job for the army, rangers, FC and the police to eradicate all terrorism from the country. It is so strange that our politicians in and out of the Government are soon keen on protecting the terrorists and the people who provide them shelter from Drone attacks.

  • SAN

    why were these role models in jail in first place, if they have so much respect for law…..silly article

    • Rehhanali

      well not agreeing with u dear, one can change , nahi ???
      irrespective after having imprisonment or punishment, one can feel ashamed of his past act or not respecting the law
      May be after “chiterol” :p or seeing our facilitated jails or may be feeling real guilt for what have they done not they are changed n have given up to go against law….

      just a point of view !!!

  • Sohaib

    why are you dramatizing so much about the return of escaped prisoners , declaring them ‘role models’ ! . i don’t see anything so unusual in that. of course some of them would have been arrested and some would have came back for the reason you yourself mentioned to come and end their little left over time on a good note rather than being declared on the wanted list. the incident of escape itself is however a big incident and yet another bad name on the face of security agencies but i think it was right decision on the spot not to retaliate and make it a bloody experience if security agencies didn’t have good presence over there. it would have been much bigger massacre if there would have been aggressive response back from police etc. the lapse occurred on part of preventive measures i think but there’s a long story behind that while Pakistan being virtually in a sate of war against terrorist groups and sad to see some leaders disowning this war out rightly .

  • Tariq

    This whole exercise meant for certain individuals but let the prisoners free in huge numbers just to embarrass a CORRUPT regime of Province and show their strength.