LAHORE – Pathetic security and working conditions at Bannu Prison led to jail break and escape of more than 350 prisoners including hardened criminals, said sources in the Interior Ministry on Friday.

They quoted KPK IG Prisons as saying in the inter-provincial meeting held a few days back in federal capital that Prisons Department of KPK was being run without resources and was facing shortage of staff.

Rifles used in Bannu jail were so old that influential people of the area were demanding them against heavy payments only to display them at home as unique items, the IG said.

He said that since 1947, there were 26 jails in the province which reduced to 22 instead of increasing their number like that in other provinces. He told the meeting that Prisons Department was also lacking staff since as within last about 65 years, only 36 new posts were created and induction was made against them. In other provinces after every four to five years staff was being hired by the Prisons Departments. No training was being imparted to the jail staff due to which they have no capability to confront with any untoward situation like jail break last week.

The IG claimed that salary package of Prisons department of KPK was meager. He quoted a warder of the Bannu jail as saying that he could not embrace martyrdom only for Rs 8,000 salary, when he was asked that why he did not retaliate when terrorists attacked Bannu jail. The IG said that no ammunition was purchased after 1947 and oldest rifles were being used for the security of jail. Sources in the Bannu jail claimed that certain influential people contacted Prisons Department IG and demanded the old rifles against heavy payments for display at their homes. The IG told the inter-provincial meeting that there were poor security conditions around the jail and power shortage was at peak and there was no alternate arrangement for the light in the jail.

No promotion system was there and officers and employees were working in the same grade for several years which was demoralising employees and officers.

A senior officer of Prisons department of KPK said that Prisons authorities were repeatedly drawing attention of the rulers towards this situation but rulers remained unmoved and these deficiencies  resulted in a big incident of jail break.