Another case of political interference in official matters has emerged after Punjab Minister for Prisons Zawar Hussain visited the Kot Lakhpat Jail late on Thursday and allegedly visited barracks lodging high-profile sectarian terrorists.
According to reports, the minister along with ‘six suspected civilians’ allegedly met and held a meeting with militants, members of banned terror organisations involved in suicide attacks in Lahore and under-trial sectarian prisoners. With this visit to these high-profile inmates, the minister created a security risk as he allegedly opened the doors of the barracks, housing 109 hardcore militants in sheer violation of Pakistan Prisons Rules 1978.
Currently, the jail has 37,00 criminals and prisoners including 300 death row inmates, 70 high-profile sectarian inmates, 45 foreigners and those convicted by the military courts, along with 22,00 other dangerous convicted prisoners.
The reports stated that the minister entered the jail forcibly in the wee hours and did not allow senior officials and jail superintendent to accompany him as he went to meet the inmates.
A detailed report to sent to the Punjab home secretary by the prisons department said that Zawar Hussain allegedly forced the jail officers to leave him alone in the premises and made them wait outside. He ordered the officials not to enter the jail until the end of his ‘work’ as he got hold of the keys to barracks of the high profile inmates, opened the barracks and met and talked with the prisoners.
The report further mentioned that on the resistance by the officials, the minister locked the prison guards of the high-security blocks of the high-risk inmates in a barrack for ‘not cooperating with him’.
The minister reportedly stayed in the prison for six hours and six civilians accompanied him during his meeting with the under-trial militants of banned organisations.
These shocking revelations were made by the Kot Lakhpat Jail Ijaz Asghar in a detailed report which was sent to Punjab Inspector General of Prisons Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig.
The inspector general bought the matter to the knowledge of the secretary interior who ordered a high-level probe into the matter.
Earlier, such incidents of political interference emerged in Chakwal and Pakpattan, where PTI leaders caused embarrassment for the ruling party.
In this fresh incident, the jail superintendent, in his report, highlighted serious violations of the prison rules and the ‘suspicious activities’ of the said minister and his companions. He took help of the CCTV footage in the jail to prepare his report.
“Under the prisons rules 1978, the guard of the prisons is the custodian of the keys of jail corridors and this was the first time that the minister snatched keys from him and gave it the suspected civilian accompanying him,” the report said, further alleging that six civilians came with the minister took into custody of the walk-talkies sets of the officials from all the deputed jail employees.
According to section 96(ii) of the rules, no visitor is permitted to enter the jail without the assistance of the authorised official, the report mentioned.
“The minister stopped the jail superintendent to accompany him and also did not allow him to enter the premises of the jail,” says the report.