The TTP is lethargic and complacent. It must be. Because there is no other reason to explain why it hasn’t embarked on its next adventure after the Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan jailbreaks. One would assume that after witnessing a rabble of militants breaking into jails and leaving with the inmates – not just once, but twice – without so much as a paper cut during the whole process, the jail authorities would finally make some arrangements to ensure frequent visitors don’t have such an easy time of it. But no, not in Pakistan.
A jailbreak rehearsal by security personnel at Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, on Monday, could only be described as a triumph of incompetence. Were the TTP watching, they might have applauded. Despite several intelligence reports warning of a possible attempt to attack the facility in the near future, the presence of various high-profile prisoners at Adiala jail, and the much publicized funding by the Punjab government, the capabilities of the ‘security apparatus’ in place suggests that it would be much safer to lock up terrorists in public toilets. Here’s why: only 2 out of the 14 CCTV cameras work, and out of those two, neither can record during the night. There are 21 check posts, all thinly manned, and the men poorly armed. Just five of these 21 are connected to the control room; this too seemed to have been arranged as a polite formality, since during the exercise, jail staff was nowhere to be found. Police did not bother responding to the emergency call and the CCF Security responded at their leisure, 38 minutes later. However, in a daring attempt to break away from norms and traditions, the Rangers reacted in just two minutes. It was also revealed that security personnel at the jail are perhaps sworn pacifists, since none of them have practiced shooting since 2012.
It appears from the performance at the drill, that in the event of a jailbreak, jail staff don’t plan to offer much resistance. Who needs guns and target practice to surrender efficiently? Usually, the requirement is a masterly decision to do nothing, and by that standard, the nation’s finest are well-quipped. If not for the sake of the people and the country, the government must act now to prevent TTP’s reputation from being tarnished. Their claim of being courageous and highly skilled is fast losing credibility considering what they are up against. To ask for at least a serious contest next time, instead of a stroll in the park, is surely not asking for too much. Is it?