Two ‘high-profile militants’ from banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi escape from Karachi’s central prison

Two ‘high-profile militants’ from banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi escape from Karachi’s central prison

KARACHI,June15:: Two ‘high-profile militants’ of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) have escaped from Karachi’s central prison in one of the most daredevil acts in recent months.

The jail authorities claimed to have safeguarded the prison heavily after multiple operations to foil such attempts that included the October 2014 operation by the Rangers in which a 45-metre-long tunnel being built just a few metres from the facility for 100 ‘dangerous militants’ was found, officials and sources said on Wednesday.

The circumstances which led to the escape of the militants were shrouded in mystery as police officials said they were informed about the incident after a ‘considerable delay’.

A police official told Dawn that the department had received a letter from Prisons Deputy Inspector General Ashraf Ali Nizamani on Wednesday evening, stating that the two under-trial prisoners (UTPs) had escaped and he wanted registration of a case against them as well as several jail officials for their alleged negligence.

The letter did not mention the date of the escape.

According to the letter, UTPs Shaikh Mohammad Mumtaz alias Firoon alias Sher Khan alias Shahzad alias Rahi and Mohammad Ahmed Khan alias Muna had escaped from the “judicial complex of Central Prison, Karachi”.

“Two under-trial prisoners were found missing and reported to have escaped from Judicial Complex adjacent to Central Prison, Karachi,” said the DIG’s letter dated June 14.

An official of the police’s Counter-Terrorism Department, Raja Umer Khattab, told Dawn that they had not been informed about the timing of the escape of the UTPs. He said both the suspected militants were arrested by the CTD in 2013. Mr Khattab said they were both hardcore militants.

He said Shaikh Mumtaz of Orangi Town was involved in targeted killing of 57 people, including members of the Shia community and police. He was charged in 32 cases.

Mr Khattab said Ahmed alias Muna of Korangi was involved in seven targeted killings.

They belonged to the Qasim Rasheed group linked with the Naeem Bukhari-led LJ outfit.

The official claimed that the law enforcers had almost wiped out the Naeem Bukhari-led outfit but now its two members had escaped.

He said the police considered the escape as a ‘worrying development’.

Mr Khattab said the jail administration had recently taken several steps to secure the prison, but the UTPs had managed to escape.

The jail administration has suspended 12 staff members, including Central Prison Superintendent Ghulam Murtaza Shaikh, Deputy Superintendent Faheem Memon and Assistant Superintendent Abdul Rehman Shaikh.

New Town police said they had received the letter from the prisons DIG for lodging an FIR against the escaped UTPs and the said jail officials, but the case had not been registered so far.

According to as spokesperson, Sindh Prisons Minister Ziaul Hasan Lanjar has suspended the 12 jail officials and sought a detailed report from the prisons IG about the incident. The minister will visit the jail to review the security arrangements.

He also ordered the IG to get the FIR registered against the suspended jail officials.