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Pak death row prisoner surrenders after escape

April 24, 2012 13:38 IST

A death row prisoner, who escaped with hundreds of other inmates when Taliban militants stormed a jail in northwest Pakistan, has turned himself in to police in the hope that his "good deed" will earn him a reprieve.

A week after the jailbreak at Bannu in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Mohammad Hanif, 47, walked into a police station in the heart of Islamabad and surrendered.

His act surprised the policemen at Kohsar police station. "If I had not turned myself in, I would have been on the run all my life, which would have been no fun," Hanif explained to the media.

Footage on television showed Hanif, clad in a shalwar-kameez and a waistcoat, chatting with police officers and reporters at the police station.

He urged the chief justice of the Islamabad high court to take up his petition to review the death sentence given to him by a court at Tarnol near Islamabad.

In 2002, police in Tarnol caught Hanif with over a kilogramme of charas. Following a trial, he was convicted and given the death sentence by a court in 2005.

Hanif was sent to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. While Hanif's appeal against the death sentence was pending in the Islamabad high court, he asked authorities to shift him to the central jail in his hometown of Bannu.

Since his presence was not required for the hearing of his appeal, Hanif was moved to the jail in Bannu, which was attacked by over 100 Taliban fighters on April 15.

The Taliban stormed the jail to free Adnan Rashid, a terrorist who was on death row for involvement in an assassination attempt on former President Pervez Musharraf. A total of 384 prisoners escaped during the attack though over 100 have surrendered to the  authorities in the past few days.

"The militants made us escape at gunpoint," Hanif told the media. He said he did not surrender in his hometown as he feared the Taliban would kill him there.

Police officials said Hanif would be produced in a court in Islamabad and possibly moved to Adiala Jail.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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