`Pakistan’s jails breeding ground for extremists`

The Haripur jail came under the spotlight after the 9/11 attacks in the US.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s jails have become breeding grounds for extremists because outlawed groups like Tehrik-e-Taliban have taken their "ideological campaign" to prisoners, according to an adviser to Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the newly-inducted adviser to the Prime Minister on human rights, made the observation in a letter sent to Gilani as also to the director general of ISI and the chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province after a visit to Haripur jail, a media report said today.

The jail, one of the oldest in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, came under the spotlight after the 9/11 attacks in the US as many Pakistanis were brought there from Afghanistan, where they had gone with radical cleric Maulana Sufi Muhammad and other extremists to join the `jihad`.

Khokar said in his letter that the Pakistani Taliban and the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, an anti-Shia group, had taken their "ideological campaign" to prisoners, Dawn News channel quoted its sources as saying.

"This jail has become a nursery for extremists because these elements are living with common prisoners and juveniles and there is no proper screening mechanism in place," said Amir Rana, an expert on terrorism, and director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

The sources claimed that Khokhar, during his visit to the Haripur jail`s juvenile ward, found graffiti and posters praising the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba. He also saw books glorifying the ideologies of the two banned organisations.

Khokhar, who has the status of a federal minister, recommended to Gilani the removal of the superintendent of Haripur jail, the report said.


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