Should KPK CM take responsibility for KPK failure & resign based on report?
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Should KPK CM take responsibility for KPK inaction & failure and resign based on this report?
PESHAWAR: A high-level inquiry committee has recommended severe punishment and dismissal of 58 officers and officials of the civil and police administrations after holding them responsible for last year’s jailbreak in Dera Ismail Khan.
In its nine-page report submitted to the administration department, the committee also recommended departmental inquiry against 97 policemen deployed inside the jail.
“The entire administrative machinery at divisional and district levels crashed just like a house of cards. No writ of the government could be seen anywhere and none came to help to save the Central Jail D.I. Khan,” said the report available with Dawn.
This is the second inquiry carried out to fix responsibility on delinquent officers and officials. The first enquiry, more detailed and graphic, was conducted soon after the attack on the jail.
Inquiry committee submits report on D.I. Khan jailbreak
It is not clear if the government has issued any charge-sheet or taken action against them. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s establishment secretary was approached for comment but he was not available in his office.
A group of militants had attacked the D.I. Khan Central Jail in the night between July 29 and 30 last year and got 253 prisoners, among them 15 high-profile terrorists, freed. The attackers killed four prisoners belonging to the Shia community and two policemen.
The proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the brazen attack.
The PTI-led KP government had blamed intelligence failure for one of the biggest jailbreaks in the country’s history, but both the inquiries clearly suggested that intelligence was there but police had simply lost the nerve to fight.
The report revealed that the jail staff had sympathies with militants and said that when the attackers threw the gauntlet, none of the staff challenged them but rather seemed to facilitate them.
The committee was critical of the role of 50 to 59 jail staff who, despite having doubtful credentials and dubious characters, had been transferred from Bannu prison to D.I. Khan Central Jail.
The Bannu jail was attacked in April 2012 and militants set free about 400 prisoners.
The inquiry committee strongly criticised the role of police and intelligence agencies and said the entire exercise carried out at the divisional and district levels to counter the attack was purely cosmetic and no steps could be seen on the ground.
“Police were totally spineless and cowardly and rudderless since there was no-one to lead them. They have added black chapter to the history of police for which they could not be forgiven,” the report said.
It said that only two policemen in an armed personnel carrier put up resistance to the militants and engaged them inside the jail. The militants attacked the APC with two rocket-propelled grenades and both policemen were killed. That was the only minimal resistance the militants faced; not a single bullet was fired by policemen manning the strategic posts inside the jail.
The committee noted that the quarters concerned, including police and prison departments, had received a threat alert from the local office of Inter-Services Intelligence which was thoroughly discussed at a meeting held prior to the attack. Even intelligence agencies cautioned the administration to the extent that militants had reached the vicinity of D.I. Khan city and would definitely attack the jail. A meeting was held which was attended by senior officers of the district administration and law-enforcement agencies, including military. A contingency plan was chalked out to foil any attack.
The militants, according to the report, were armed with heavy weapons and improvised explosive devices and explosives-laden vehicles. “The attack was just like a blitzkrieg” and the attackers knocked out the outer cordon of police and easily entered the jail.
The committee did not recommend any action against the then divisional commissioner because he had made necessary efforts for the jail’s security. ‘Minor’ penalty has been recommended for the then regional police officer and deputy commissioner.
However, it said the role played by District Police Officer Sohail Khalid, who is at present in police’s counter-terrorism unit, as a team leader during the attack was disgusting and pathetic.
“The enquiry committee is of the opinion that DPO Sohail Khalid after evincing generous amount of cowardice rightfully deserves major penalty and is recommended for dismissal from service,” the report said. It also recommended dismissal of Touheed Khan, the then SP of Elite Force, and major penalty for former DSP Abdul Ghafoor Khan, ex-DSP Salahuddin, reserve inspector Umar Daraz Khan, ex-SHO Mohammad Nawaz Khan, line officer Noor Aslam and former superintendent of D.I. Khan Central Jail Ghulam Rabbani.
The committee recommended departmental inquiry against 97 policemen deployed inside the jail and removal of over 50 jail constables from service.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2014