Pakistani police storm prison to free hostages

Saturday, July 26, 2003

LAHORE, Pakistan -- Police commandos stormed a maximum-security jail in eastern Pakistan where armed prisoners took visiting judges and female inmates hostage Friday. The five hostage-takers and three of the judges were killed, officials said.

The commandos were called in after hostage-takers threatened to kill their captives six hours after seizing them, police official Malik Iqbal said.

The prisoners earlier freed four judges, who told police the hostage-takers -- all men -- wanted a small bus, weapons and safe passage. It was not known how the rioting prisoners obtained weapons.

"We tried to negotiate with them but when the prisoners said they would kill the judges we brought in the commandos," Iqbal said.

None of the women hostages were injured, Iqbal said.

The incident occurred at the Sialkot penitentiary 60 miles northeast of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's eastern Punjab province.

The judges were taken hostage while inspecting the overcrowded facility.

About 2,700 prisoners, including 200 women, are held in the maximum-security prison built to house 1,800 prisoners.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: