Prisoners freed during Pakistani jail ambush return voluntarily

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Prisoners freed during Pakistani jail ambush return voluntarily

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Dozens of prisoners who were freed during the weekend storming of a Pakistani jail returned voluntarily on Monday.

Officials said as many as 76, out of the nearly 400 inmates who escaped, are now back in custody.

They were released during an ambush by Islamist militants purported to be from the Pakistan Taliban, a group linked to Al Qaeda.

The jailbreak was thought to be the biggest in Pakistan’s history.

“We don’t know whether the attacks were carried out by the Taliban or someone else. They broke the locks of the jail and threatened to take us hostage if we did not get out of there,” said Zeeshan Habib, one of the prisoners who returned voluntarily.

Fellow inmate Imran Khan described how: “The Taliban forced us to leave at gunpoint. They took us to the hills and left us there. We have come back voluntarily,”

Many of those who returned said they would have served their sentences within a few years and did not want to ruin their chances of early release by becoming fugitives.

Sunday’s breakout dealt a psychological blow to Pakistani security forces whom the government maintains have weakened militant groups through successive crackdowns.