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Interior minister confirms Ehsanullah Ehsan’s escape from custody

The former TTP spokesperson surrendered to authorities in 2017

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 17, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Posted: Feb 17, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Interior Minister Ijaz Shah is speaking to reporters in Quetta on September 19. Photo: SAMAA TV FILE

Interior Minister Ijaz Shah confirmed on Monday reports about the escape of former spokesperson of the Pakistani Taliban from the custody of Pakistani security agencies.

The confirmation comes days after Ehsanullah Ehsan — former spokesperson for the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and then the Jamaatul Ahrar — released an audio message. He claimed he had escaped detention and was now in Turkey.

Interior Minister Shah said he had read reports about Ehsan’s arrest and those were true. He was having an informal interaction with journalists at the Parliament House.

“A lot is happening; you will hear good news,” Shah told a journalist, when inquired about the state’s response to Ehsan’s escape.

A senior security source last week told AFP that Ehsan was “one of our major assets in identifying and later tracking down militants”.

The source was unable to confirm claims that he was in Turkey, or provide details of how he escaped.

Ehsan was infamous for issuing chilling claims following TTP attacks and has been linked to some of the country’s most bloody attacks — including the bombing at a park in Lahore during Easter 2016, and the targeting of education activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

He surrendered to authorities in 2017 and later gave high-profile interviews on Pakistani television. It angered many in the country who believed he was being pampered by authorities after years of helping lead the bloody insurgency.

Pakistani security officials argued, however, that he had supplied valuable intelligence in the fight against militants.

Overall levels of extremist-linked violence in Pakistan have dropped dramatically last year, with 2019 seeing the fewest deaths since 2007 when the TTP was formed.

Analysts have credited the fall to military offensives against the Taliban in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal districts where they were headquartered, as well as operations in the country’s largest city of Karachi.

In 2018, the TTP was further degraded after a US strike in Afghanistan killed their leader, Mullah Fazlullah.

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Ehsanullah Ehsan, interior minister, Ijaz Shah, escape, custody, detention, TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar, spokesperson, Pakistani Taliban

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