PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province will have a high-security jail for high-profile militants and hardened criminals in Mardan division to avoid the kind of jailbreaks that occurred in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan, it is learnt.
The high-security prison will have high-tech security arrangements on the pattern of jails in European countries to counter jailbreaks or attacks, the source said. Apart from a small police lines, there would be isolation rooms, a quick response force, CCTVs and a monitoring room in the prison.
“Courtrooms will be set up inside the prison and the militants and high-profile criminals will not have to move out of the jail,” the source added.
“Arrangements have been made and the most wanted militants and criminals will be shifted to the high-security prison within a few weeks,” the source said. The government has been planning to have a high-security prison since long.
However, work has been expedited on the new facility following two of the biggest jailbreaks in the country’s history.
Around 400 prisoners, including top militant commanders, escaped when militants stormed the Bannu Central Prison in March 2012. Militants also stormed the Dera Ismail Khan Central Prison last July, killing 12 persons. The attackers helped around 248 prisoners escape from the prison. The escapees included top militant commanders.
Security at the Peshawar and Haripur prisons has been beefed up following intelligence reports that they could be attacked.
“We have increased the security of the Central Prison Peshawar and Haripur,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police Ihsan Ghani said.
Apart from police and army, contingents of Frontier Constabulary and Frontier Corps have been deployed in and around the prisons in Haripur and Peshawar to prevent jailbreaks. The road leading to the facility remains blocked from 9pm till sunrise.
Security authorities believe Peshawar Central Prison could be a potential target as it holds Dr Shakil Afridi, a former agency surgeon accused of running a fake vaccination campaign near the house of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad. TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Mohammad is also jailed at Peshawar Central Prison.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home and Tribal Affairs Department has released Rs198.2m for increasing security at prisons in the province. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has directed officials to expedite the process of establishment of the high-security prison, in addition to establishing a women’s prison in the province.