KARACHI: A number of terrorists, including founders of banned sectarian outfits, are currently imprisoned in Central Jail, Karachi. Eighteen of these convicted and under-trial prisoners are likely to be transferred to various other jails in the province, The Express Tribune has learnt.
There were nearly 100 high-profile ‘hard core’ terrorists incarcerated at the central prison belonging to militant organisations such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, alQaeda, alQaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and Da’ish. This includes the militants who attempted to assassinate former president and then army chief General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, Omar Shaikh, who was sentenced to death for killing American journalist Daniel Pearl, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British terrorist of Pakistani origin with links to various Islamist militant organisations such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, alQaeda, Harkatul Mujahideen and the Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi co-founder Mohammad Ajmal alias Akram Lahori.
The vast network of terrorists at Central Jail Karachi was recently dismantled, as a number of dangerous inmates were shifted to other jails in the country, particularly in Sukkur and Larkana, in a bid to control overcrowding. The network came into the spotlight following one of the most daring and dramatic prison breaks the jail has witnessed.
“Around 70% of the high-profile prisoners have already been shifted from Central Jail, Karachi while the remaining 30% will be transferred soon,” confirmed Jails Inspector-General (IG) Nusrat Mangan.
It has been learnt that the remaining 30%, who number around one-and-a-half-dozen, are likely to be shifted to the jails in Sukkur, Larkana and Hyderabad. These include Lahori and Sheikh.
The central prison houses around 6,000 inmates – twice its original capacity. There are 380 staffers, including officials and guards, temporarily being supported by three platoons of the Frontier Constabulary, each with around 40 to 45 personnel, and 50 Rangers soldiers. As per these estimates, the inmates to guard ratio is 10:1.
On June 13, two members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Shaikh Muhammad Imtiaz alias Firoun and Ahmed Khan alias Munna, escaped from the jail, leaving the authorities who had made claims of foolproof security dumbfounded.
It has been reported that the Da’ish established its own network inside Central Jail, Karachi ahead of the recruitment of over two dozen terrorists. Law enforcement agencies have also reportedly taken custody of two terrorist convicts who were recruiting inmates for Da’ish. Of the 30 prisoners recruited by the Da’ish, 12 have been released on bail and their current whereabouts are unknown. They were not found at their residences when raids were conducted by law enforcement agencies.
Jail authorities, however, have strongly rejected the reports. “This is a completely a fake report,” clarified Jails Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar. “If someone has a single shred of evidence of this he should come forward,” he urged.
Lanjar said that the authorities have changed the entire system of the jail since the recent jailbreak. “You will not find central jail to be like it was in the past, as the jail is no longer an open place for prisoners,” he explained. “We have a small number of high-profile terrorists remaining, as we have already broken the strength of the high-profile prisoners by isolating them and transferring them.”