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AJK Police Arrest Three Escaped Prisoners, Intensify Search Efforts

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) police have successfully apprehended three of the 18 prisoners who escaped from Poonch district jail in Rawalakot over the weekend, officials confirmed on Friday.

Muhammad Usman Afraz and Faizan Aziz were captured during a night operation on Wednesday and Thursday, while Noman Asif was arrested on Thursday night. Afraz, 24, sentenced to death for murder and terrorism and associated with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, resisted arrest and injured two policemen with a dagger before being subdued in Singola’s high-altitude area near Rawalakot.

Faizan Aziz, involved in a murder case, was arrested in the Pothi Baghluta area, also on Rawalakot’s outskirts. Noman Asif, sentenced to 25 years for murder, was apprehended near Rawalakot Circuit House with the help of his family, following the detainment of his relatives.

The escape, which occurred on Sunday afternoon, prompted a massive police response, resulting in the arrest of 11 prison officials and several individuals linked to the prisoners’ pre-escape visits. Initial investigations suggest negligence facilitated the jailbreak, with death row inmates found without proper confinement and receiving unauthorized visitors.

SSP Poonch Riaz Mughal affirmed the police’s commitment to apprehending the remaining escapees swiftly, highlighting ongoing efforts and the identification of individuals involved in smuggling weapons into the prison.

“We are determined to capture all escapees soon,” SSP Mughal assured, emphasizing the intensive search efforts and collaboration among multiple police teams to restore security and accountability at Rawalakot’s district jail.

The escape of prisoners from Poonch district jail has sparked concerns about security protocols and oversight within the prison system. The incident has underscored the need for rigorous reforms and enhanced measures to prevent future breaches.

Authorities are expected to conduct a thorough review of prison security procedures to address lapses and ensure robust safeguards are in place. Efforts are also underway to apprehend the remaining escapees promptly, with law enforcement agencies maintaining heightened vigilance across the region to prevent any potential threats posed by the fugitives.

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