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Central Jail’s security flaws exposed, search yields hoard of illicit items

KARACHI: While travelling near Central Jail, Karachi you may notice that you lose mobile phone connection, as the jail authorities have installed mobile phone jammers at the prison.

The police have learnt from their past mistakes; the jammers are to stop the inmates from using mobile phones that could be used in criminal or terrorist activities. These jammers are not only functional within the jail premises but also affect an area within a radius of one kilometre surrounding the jail, including parts of PIB Colony and Ghausia Colony.

Despite this security measure, hundreds of prisoners are still able to communicate using their mobile phones, with the help of anti-jammer devices and, of course, the jail staff.

The evidence of this is the recent recovery of over 100 mobile phones from inmates in a joint operation conducted by the Rangers, Frontier Constabulary and police on Monday. The authorities conducted the operation soon after the escape of two under trial prisoners who belonged to banned sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Escaped LeJ militants walked out of central jail

This is not the first time security agencies conducted a grand operation inside the jail. Law enforcers have launched similar operations after each major activity inside or outside the jail. The last major operation was conducted by the Rangers and other forces inside the jail premises in which hundreds of mobile phones and other equipment were claimed to have been seized following the deadly terrorist attack on then Sindh High Court chief justice Justice Maqbool Baqar in June, 2013. The security agencies also claimed to have recovered the mobile phone allegedly used to plan the attack on Justice Baqar.

The repeated recovery of mobile phones and other equipment, despite its ban, raises the question about the claims of security arrangements. Apart from the jail police, the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary are deployed for jail security.

“What is happening here? How are these mobile phones and other material able to find its way to the inmates again and again, despite the fact that a single needle cannot be brought inside [the jail] without the permission or connivance of the jail staff,” questioned a senior Counter Terrorism Department official investigating the prisoners’ escape. “This is indicative of the jail authorities’ involvement,” he said.

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The officer also questioned the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel. “When the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary are deployed at the jail, then why are operations like this launched only after major mishaps occur, when these mobile phones are clearly used in criminal and terrorist activities?” the official questioned.

Rangers Bhittai Wing Sector Commander Brigader Shahid, while speaking to the media at Central Jail, Karachi on Monday, said that the search operation was launched following the escape of the terrorists. “The Rangers, Pakistan Army, police and other law enforcement agencies are used to conducting rehearsals to combat any emergency situation as per routine and this operation is a part of it,” the brigadier said. “Intelligence agencies have been warned of threats to jail security,” he said, adding that all the cells of inmates belonging to political, religious and banned outfits were searched during the operation and a huge cache of unauthorised material was seized.

Scores of television sets, LCDs, water dispensers, mobile phones, tape recorders, air-coolers, knives, pliers and other electronic devices were found inside the jail.

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Cash worth Rs3,552,337 was also recovered.

Sharing details about the recovery, Brigadier Shahid said that 18 deep freezers, 449 televisions, 163 LCDs, 102 mobile phones, 82 speakers, 22 heaters, three DVD players, 10 scissors, 30 blankets, 400 packets cigarettes, 45 knives and daggers, 46 memory cards and 50 remote controls were seized.

“Some other devices had also been installed to make the jammers in the jail ineffective, so that the prisoners’ phones were functional at particular timings and places,” the Rangers official explained.

The post Central Jail’s security flaws exposed, search yields hoard of illicit items appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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