Prison break: Lessons to learn from Bannu

Published: April 19, 2012

Bannu jail break shows just how much of a threat trigger-happy fighters pose to provincial and state-run institutions. PHOTO: REUTERS

A brazen attack by militants on the Bannu central jail that led to the escape of 384 inmates, including several hardcore Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan members, shows just how much of a threat trigger-happy fighters pose to provincial and state-run institutions. Their ability to strike any target at will is scary indeed.

Time and again they have demonstrated their prowess by targeting Nato supply terminals smack in the centre of the settled district in Peshawar. And now the central jail attack in Bannu has proved beyond doubt that all government claims of having curbed militancy are nothing more than shallow political statements intended to hoodwink citizens.

The latest attack exposes serious flaws in our security apparatus and casts a long shadow over the morale of the police. In the past few years, a deep sense of pessimism has swept the rank and file of the police, despite the personal sacrifices rendered by many brave souls.

The assault also shows that these militants do not really care about the security arrangements. When they began their attacks on Nato supply terminals police were unable to put a stop to those attacks despite all the resources and manpower at their disposal. They have repeatedly hit targets inside the high security zones across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa  and even across the country.

Their success stems not only from their extraordinary commitment to their cause but also through their collaborators in the police and law enforcement agencies.

Unfortunately, there is no accountability system in place in the police and other organisations of our country. As a result, no one has ever been tried for the blunders they committed in giving way to the militants. They started from scratch and built an empire or state within a state in the tribal belt of the country 10 years ago and soon extended their operations to the settled parts through a torrid mix of explosions, car bombs and target killings.

It is time to fix responsibility and put a stop to the menace.


Riaz Ahmad

A Peshawar-based reporter who works at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  •!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    And everyone had assumed Prison Break ended after Season 4. Recommend

  • Ilmana Fasih

    Have we learnt from Bangladesh, from Martial Laws, from security failures of Mehran Base Karachi, from FIA HeadOffice attack, from Sharmeen Chinoy’s Oscar highlight of acid-burns, to numerous other learning opportunities, to NOW learn from Bannu attack ? Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    The militants have been enjoying freedom of movement being allowed to zip past security check posts in their Pajero’s with their weapons on full display. Suddenly dumb questions are being asked as to how they came and how they went. The enquiry commission should focus on all the collaborators within the Establishment who are running with the hare and hunting with the hound. Recommend

  • Noise

    Pakistan needs to build gulags in the deserts and it’s own version of Alcatraz island. It isnt wise keeping terrorists imprisoned in a district that is bordered by terrorist controlled territory. And it needs to execute criminals faster. More hanging, less jailing.Recommend

  • R.A

    Lessons to learn but
    never to implement

  • Marc

    One question: how many police officers died in that attack ?

    You answer this question, and then I will tell you what lessons we can learn. Recommend

  • maryam

    without doubt they can get holds of our nukes too…………Recommend

  • maryam

    are the nukes in safe? the answer NoRecommend

  • Seema Shaikh

    When OBL sheltered in very highly protected security zone, when worlds wanted man included in a party where all retired army officers and agencies men are gathered, and 400 ppl and huge convoy of cars and jeeps passed through several check posts without any resistance, tells the story both are sailing in the same boat. On other hand judiciary never sentences any death penalty to these militants, karachi and Quetta, and peshawer always are main targets of these militants, where lahore is spared?? Recommend