LAHORE – Country’s leading intelligence agency had advance indications of militants’ plans of Bannu jailbreak to get nearly 341 inmates released, well-informed sources revealed on Monday.

While strongly rejecting the claims of intelligence failure that led to jailbreak, a source in the federal government disclosed to TheNation on Monday that the agency had conveyed the threat to the authorities concerned three days before happening.

According to sources, the intelligence agency had sent a ‘confidential letter’ to the provincial and federal governments and the heads of all law enforcement agencies in the Khyber Pk, clearly indicating the possible terror assault on the Bannu jail.

It was predicted in a threat-alert released two days before the incident took place. The warning came in the form of what is called a “TAI–C, Targeted Actionable Intelligence Centre”. The alert was classified as “Moderate”.

The letter says, “As per intelligence information, terrorist commander of Askari GDR group is planning to carry out terror attacks in Kohat and surroundings areas against possible targets – PAF Kohat, Police Station Lachi, Kohat Cantonment and Bannu Jail to free imprisoned terrorists.”

“This merits and needed high degree of alert and security measures,” the intelligence report maintained.

Prior to the Bannu jailbreak, sources said the intelligence agencies intercepted militants’ communications indicated that the terrorists had “already planned a series of operations against the key government installations”.

According to the official figures, out of total 341 prisoners 145 had been kept on judicial custody, 95 on murder charges, 21 facing death sentence, 21 life imprisonment, 24 FCR and five female prisoners.

“I have no hesitation in saying that it was security failure rather than intelligence failure that led to the attacks. Today’s terrorists are more tech savvy than the poorly-equipped officials of law enforcement agencies,” an official in the Interior Ministry said, when contacted.

Actually, the elements involved in the attack are known to the government, spy agencies and even the local law enforcement agencies. Had the jail authorities or the provincial government made proper arrangements on the basis of the confidential report, the attackers might have been repelled forcefully, he added.

On Sunday, militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles attacked the jail managed to free hundreds of prisoners, including one on death row for trying to assassinate former president Pervez Musharraf. The jailbreak has been described as one of the biggest in Pakistan’s history. The attackers arrived in a convoy of vehicles, blocking all access points to the jail before firing rocket-propelled grenades at the black, metal gates of the prison and forcing their way in. They moved through the prison quickly facing little resistance until they found Adnan Rasheed, who took part in one of the attempts to kill Musharraf, and then freed him and 383 others.