LARKANA: In the midst of a search operation for cell phones and other banned objects initiated by the jail administration early on Thursday morning, prisoners came out of their barracks at Larkana central prison and staged a vociferous demonstration.
Jail officials called additional police and Ranger forces who surrounded the jail while Masood Ahmed Bangash himself, Larkana SSP, mediated with the demonstrators to defuse the situation.
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A series of video recordings on social media that came out of the jail and went viral showed the inmates agitating and giving speeches against prison authorities.
They accused the prison officials of allowing them to have cell phones in the first place, which they used to contact their families, the sources added, adding that the prisoners even spoke of other excesses.
According to recordings of the rally, as the demonstration got louder, prison police lobbed a few tear gear gas shells at the inmates and even shot in the air.
A prison source reported that the demonstration was essentially triggered by the issue of retrieving cell phones from inmates.
The inmates were heard in videos moaning about inadequate food quality and insulting, cruel treatment being provided to inmates, and they were also seen appealing to higher authority to interfere in prison affairs to change their condition.
Prison superintendent Anwer Mustafa immediately called a meeting with SSP Bangash and other prison officers to defuse the crisis, in which PPP MPA Burhan Khan Chandio and Barrister Kazim Abbasi, brother of GDA MPA Moazzam Abbasi, were also involved, the sources said.
The inmates were also demonstrating against the unannounced transfer of some inmates to other prisons, the sources said.
When jail officials agreed to delay the search activity and the relocation of prisoners to other jails, the situation was later settled peacefully.
SSP Bangash, who met with the protesting inmates, said the inmates were just agitating about the issue of cell phone recovery and nothing else.
He acknowledged that a pair of tear gas shells were lobbied by prison officers, but explained that no one in action was injured. The prisoners went back into their barracks after the matter was settled and no complaint against the agitators had been reported with the police station concerned so far, he added.
For comment, the jail superintendent and PPP MPA Burhan Khan Chandio were unavailable.