LAHORE: Punjab government released funds worth billions in a bid to secure the jails across Punjab and install mobile phone jammers to bar the prisoners from making phone calls. But owing to the collusion of the jails’ management, the practice has not been able to put an end to despite having spent more than 3 billion rupees within the last two years.
According to sources, the management of the jails is mainly responsible for the failure. It is because the corrupt members of staff fear that if the cellular services are terminated they would not be able to accept bribes from the inmates whenever the prisoners are to make phone calls.
Sources also told that dangerous prisoners locked up in the Kot Lakhpat jail make calls not only all over Punjab, but also make international calls every night. Even though the officers on duty are well-aware of the ongoing illegal activities within the jail premises, different prices are charged for different sorts of activities.
Extortion demands, threats by land mafia and murder threats from within the jail are some of the illegal activities that keep the businesses of the locked up criminals running.
Despite several complaints registered with the jailer, no actions are taken to put an end to the illegal activities, instead, the charges for the activities to be carried out are raised.
The reason behind funds worth billions being spent by the government was to bar the inmates from carrying out any illegal activities, but it’s the jailer who has the authority inside a jail and not the government. A jailer, after all, is the supreme authority in a jail and can do whatever he wants.
Other than all illegal activities that have taken over the jails across Punjab, juveniles being sexually assaulted in prisons and the usage of drugs are also among the common practices. No actions are taken because the culprits who already are in jail aren’t afraid of any legal actions. In fact, the on-duty staff members are seen participating in such activities along with the prisoners.
Adding to the recurring incidents, a 24-year-old was sexually abused in the Kot Lakhpat jail. Even after the victim’s family registered a complaint against the Jail Superintendent Ijaz Asghar with the high-ups, no actions were taken, and the jail authorities added to the ordeal of the inmate instead.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a prisoner told Pakistan Today that drugs are sold at the Kot Lakhpath jail in broad daylight. He also said that land mafias run their illegal business from within the jail, and young boys are sexually assaulted on almost a daily basis.
“No one helps anyone in the jail. Not even those in police uniforms,” he said while adding that the jail management muffles the painful screams of the victims in the dark of night.
“Those who live here are not alive. The jail is home to dead consciences of people who do not care for anyone. They just want to do anything that may be needed to fulfil their lustful desires,” said the prisoner.
He also said that no laws exist in the jail. The members of the jail’s staff are servants of anyone who is rich and powerful, he added.
Inspector General (IG) of prison’s spokesperson was tried to be contacted for a comment, but he was not available.