Pakistani jails are 'lightly constructed' coops: daily
Criticising security in Pakistan's prisons, a daily has described jails as "lightly constructed" chicken coops guarded by men "armed with paper darts and a catapult".
The News International Monday penned an editorial following a new security plan after Taliban militants struck at the Bannu jail April 15 and freed 384 prisoners. At least 20 high profile prisoners, including one who was involved in an attack on former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, were among those who escaped.
The daily said: "If ever there was a case of the stable door being firmly shut after the horse had bolted, it is the new security plan for prisons in Punjab - and presumably elsewhere in the country."
"...When you place high-value prisoners in the penitentiary equivalent of a lightly constructed chicken coop and have them watched over by half a dozen guards armed with paper darts and a catapult - is it not asking for trouble?
"Indeed it is and the Taliban were delighted to be able to deliver it in strength and depth, springing their men with minimal resistance and no casualties of note on either side beyond superficial injuries to the guards who put up 'token' resistance," it said.
It noted that the words 'contingency planning' means little to those who manage the prison service. Punjab has now declared that it will reinforce prisons by stationing Rangers there, with Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and seven prisons have been declared 'sensitive', with all remaining jails seeing an improvement in security.
Using humour to drive home its point, the daily suggested: "It might be a good idea to check that there is petrol in the tanks of the APCs in case they have to chase miscreants and rounds for the rifles as well in case they have to defend themselves in the face of overwhelming Taliban odds."
"It is reported that jail walls will be extended to 10' high which is an excellent indicator of how long the ladders will need to be for those coming to release their friends, comrades, fellow conspirators and partners in crime," it added.
The editorial did not stop at that. "Jamming devices (that work) will be deployed in and around jails to block prisoner's cell phones; and might we suggest that carrier pigeons be kept on hand to deliver news of any future attack as mobile phones will be jammed and landlines are notoriously unreliable? We await developments with interest," it mocked.