Rangers carry out search operation at Karachi Central Jail


More than 150 Rangers personnel undertook a major search operation at Karachi Central Jail in a move to make progress on the deadly attack on Sindh High Court’s Justice Maqbool Baqar that killed nine people.
“Rangers believe the attack on Justice Baqar’s convoy was carried out from inside the prison cells with the help of mobile devices,” said a senior prison official, requesting not to be named since he was not authorised to speak to media.
Rangers recovered a cellular device which they believe was used directly in the attack on Justice Baqar.
According to officials at the prisons, several cellular phones, laptops and even internet devices were recovered during the search operation that lasted for more than four hours.
Investigators believed that the deadly attack on Justice Baqar was carried out from the prison.
Sources said the judge was on the hit list of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ).
In January last year, two members of the LJ were arrested by a team led by Crime Investigation Department (CID) SP Mazhar Mashwani.
Both men, Azeem Sheikh and Farhan, had confessed to having planned an attack on Justice Baqar.
They also confessed planning attacks on senior CID official SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan, and Police Superintendent North Nazimabad, Khurram Warris.
Azeem Sheikh was released on June 20 on bail this year. Justice Baqar was attacked at Karachi’s Burnes Road on June 26, a few days after his release.
Rangers also grilled two other key members of the LJ, Mohammad Ajmal alias Akram Lahori and Atta Mohammad.
Several contact numbers of key suspects involved in carrying out the attack on the judge were also found in the recovered mobile phones.
Karachi Central Jail Deputy Superintendent Nazeer Shah, however, called the search operation on Saturday “a routine search”.
According to officials, a number of mobile phones and drugs were also recovered from prisoners at the jail during a routine search by prison administration two weeks earlier.
Pakistan Today, on April 19, 2012, had published a news report titled “In Sindh’s jail, militants command special treatment” pointing out the privileges being provided to hardcore criminals, particularly those belonging to banned outfits.
Sources alleged that officials of Sindh Prisons Department were facilitating some alleged militants as dignitaries by providing them undue concessions in the province’s jails.
There are a large number of militants affiliated with banned outfits and they were kept under tight security. However, senior jail officials were allegedly involved in shifting these terrorists on the basis of favouritism, sources added.
Last year, sources said, the then IG Prisons Ghulam Qadir Thebo, had ordered deputy inspector Nusrat Mangan to shift an alleged militant named Qadir Shah Bukhari from a high-security zone of the Karachi jail to a ward of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) “to provide him extra facilities that could create an unruly situation in the already overcrowded jail”.
The criminal had been arrested by law enforcement agencies from Sanghar for links with a banned outfit.
Pakistani Taliban and LJ terrorists operating in Karachi are believed to have combined forces to carry out attacks on high-profile targets in the city.
Saturday’s search operation by Rangers’ personnel was carried out on a tip-off by an inmate at the central prison.