Heads roll as KP government investigates Bannu jailbreak
* KP chief minister removes Bannu commissioner, IG Jails, DIG police and deputy superintendent Central Jail Bannu
* Forms three-member inquiry committee
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government on Monday removed four senior officials over a dawn jailbreak in Bannu.
The suspended officials are Bannu Commissioner Abdullah Jan, Inspector General (Prisons) Arshad Majeed, Bannu Deputy IG Iftikhar Khan and Bannu prison deputy superintendent Muhammad Zahid.
On Sunday, as many as 200 heavily armed terrorists arrived in pick-up trucks to free convicted comrade Adnan Rasheed.
Rasheed was convicted for an attempt on the life of former president General Pervez Musharraf. A bomb planted under a bridge in Rawalpindi near Islamabad in December 2003 exploded moments after Musharraf’s motorcade passed. His appeal is pending before the Supreme Court.
“This was not an ordinary happening,” KP government spokesman Iftikhar Hussain told reporters.
He also said, “Every aspect of the raid will be thoroughly investigated and standard operating procedures for prison security will be revisited through this high-level investigation committee.”
Some 384 prisoners, including 22 convicted hardened criminals and terrorists, were freed in the wake of the two-hour attack by the terrorists hours before their Afghan brothers in arms rocked four cities, including Afghan capital Kabul.
“The [KP] chief minister has taken serious view of the happening in Bannu,” seeking anonymity, a senior cabinet minister, told Daily Times.
A three-member special committee, headed by Dr Ehsanul Haq and comprising of Education Secretary Mushtaq Jadoon and Special Secretary Home Syed Alamgir Shah, has been formed to probe the incident.
To a question regarding security lapse, he said that the committee would investigate the matter from all angels and would check the involvement of any officials of the jail.
He asserted that the government would take stern action against those who challenged its writ, adding that the people would be provided with full security and the sense of insecurity among them would be addressed.
To another question, he said that there was not any lapse on behalf of the government as it was extending full cooperation to district administrations across the province.
Sources said, “Both the police and army took more than four hours to respond to the situation when present guards could hardly stand up against such big number of attackers.”
Sources in the CM’s House said, “The special committee will look at every aspect of the happening and see how security breaches were allowed to take place.” The committee would submit a report in 15 days, a CM’s House statement read.
Talking to reporters, KP Governor Masood Kausar said that he would call a meeting to review the situation and take measures to curb such incidents in the future. “It is indeed a shocking development which apparently seems to be a high value target-oriented,” he said.