Afghanistan refuses to hand over Maulvi Faqir

Published: February 22, 2013

File photo of TTP Deputy head Maulvi Faqir Mohammad. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Kabul on Thursday refused to hand over senior Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, a few hours after Islamabad requested his extradition. The Taliban leader had been captured by Afghan intelligence in the eastern parts of Afghanistan earlier this week.

In his weekly press briefing, foreign ministry spokesperson Moazzam Khan told reporters that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was informed of Faqir’s capture by her Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul in a telephonic conversation late on Wednesday,

“We hope that he (Faqir) would be handed over to Pakistan as soon as possible because he has the blood of many innocent Pakistanis on his hands,” Khan said at the briefing.

However, the Afghan foreign ministry shot down Pakistan’s request a few hours later stating there was no agreement for exchanging prisoners between the two countries.

In a statement emailed to The Express Tribune, Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson Janan Musazai said that during the recent tripartite summit in London, Islamabad had rejected Kabul’s request to hand over certain Afghan Taliban prisoners, indicating his side’s refusal might be a tit-for-tat move.

“The Afghan government had requested the Pakistani government to return Afghan Taliban prisoners held by Pakistan so that they could participate in Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation efforts… The Pakistani side responded that they could definitely not hand over Taliban prisoners to the Afghan government because there is no prisoner exchange agreement between the two countries,” he maintained.

Musazai said the Afghan government continues to believe that the return of Afghan Taliban prisoners to Afghanistan is in the best interests of a meaningful Afghan peace process, adding that it was prepared to discuss the issue further with the Pakistani government.

“At the same time, the Afghan government’s investigation into the recent capture of an individual that has been reported in the media is still ongoing,” he said. He refused to add anything more to his statement when contacted by phone.

Faqir, the former deputy chief of TTP, was removed after reports that he was involved in ‘unauthorised’ talks with the Pakistani government. He had himself confirmed to The Express Tribune in an interview last year that he was twice contacted by a Pakistani religious leader on behalf of a top security official. Pakistani officials say that Faqir had fled to Afghanistan after the 2008-09 military operation in the Bajaur tribal region.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2013.

Reader Comments (19)

  • Tabish Bilgrami
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:32AM

    If they refuse to hand over people killing Pakistani nationals, hand over all the refugees back to Afganistan government at once! Huh!

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  • Faisal
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:33AM

    Pakistan wants its asset back. And Afghan talking about “agreement” on exchange of prisoners is a joke. There are no laws in Afghanistan.

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  • Hafeez
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:47AM

    Good decision by Afghans. It is very common in Pakistan for mass murderers breaking out jails or being pardoned by the courts. Better finish him there.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:53AM

    I feel that both countries should cooperate with each other to wipe out terrorism totally from the region. Each country holding its own “Strategic Assets” is not good for both countries and the region. Co-operation should include exchange of wanted persons by either country and the country to which the wanted persons are handed over should deal with them firmly and should not try to use them against the other country.

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  • Mohib
    Feb 22, 2013 - 12:14PM

    Its useless to ask Afghanis. Block their transit supplies and kick their refugees out, they would listen to you.

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  • Hameed
    Feb 22, 2013 - 1:47PM

    Raj : I understand where are you coming from but you must understand that Afghanistan is doing the same what Pakistan has done over the last couple of years. They arrested key Taliban lieutenants and refused to hand them over, now let Pakistan taste its medicine and see how ti feels.

    Mohib : Have you ever asked your Government as to why they are not handing over Mullah Brader ? As for Transit supplies go ahead block it who cares, Afghanistan has already started to importing/exporting stuff via Iran and central Asia so its your loss and yes please deport all those Afghan refugees seriously get a life…

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  • MukamilAhmad
    Feb 22, 2013 - 4:04PM

    @Mohib Dont act like an idiot.If you you are suggesting option of blocking Afghan Transit goods, We have alternative routes and Afghanistan government has right to block Pakistani products to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other countries breaking Pakistan fragile economy backbone. Now Afghanistan traders have decided to use Iran route for business and trade. Your government is taking huge amount of money as a result of Afghan refugees stay in Pakistan and Ask your dad who funded Pakistan for Nuke.It was fund for People of Afghanistan that Pakistan used to build their nuke program. Dont consider Afghanistan weak.

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  • Ahmad
    Feb 22, 2013 - 4:19PM

    Interesting, well at least Afghanistan government follow their stone age customs, money first than talk about anything else. Pakistan needs to wake up, hand all refugees to them along with bag of cash they will hand over anyone one desires.

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  • Khattak
    Feb 22, 2013 - 4:39PM

    Well done Afghanistan, thanks to NDS, they have achieved a lot in short period of time. This is the way to go.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 22, 2013 - 8:06PM

    I personally know a lot of Afghanis who have moved to USA during the Soviet invasion. I had known for many years. Most of them crossed over to Pakistan and then moved to USA and other western nations. They used smugglers to smuggle them out of Afghanistan. They will hide in trucks and travel on donkeys and would reach Pakistan with great difficulty. Their families in Afghanistan would not know what happened to them for months. After they reach USA or west they would send a coded mail to their families which would usually say that the carpets have arrived. May be they would describe the carpets to convey which member of their family has reached USA safely. At that time these Afghans had immense goodwill for Pakistan. They all used to talk very good of Pakistan. Things changed overnight when all of a sudden mujahiddins became talibans and talibans took over the country. Almost all Afghanis in USA deeply resent Pakistan’s creating, popping up and continually supporting takibans and trying control Afghanistan through them. Hamid Gul’s ventures in Afghanistan and his continued mention of talibans as muslims and Pashtuns who are close to Pakistan and carry on Pakistan’s bidding in Afghanistan brings more bitter feelings for Pakistan in these Afghanis. As far as the refugees are concerned. Pakistan took them voluntarily to help them in the beginning. Within a short time, Pakistan turned greedy and wanted and actually made lot of money in the name of helping refugees. Zia’s famous statement calling the initial US aid offer “Peanuts” comes back to their minds when Pakistan blames Afghani refugees for the problems. In USA and West, it is the people like Khalilzad and Rasool who represent the thinking of Pakistan and not those like Mulla Omar. I have heard many obscene jokes circulating about Mulla Omar amongst the Afghanis here. However, Pakistanis may think that Mulla Omar is the Amir Ul Mumineen and that he represents Afghanistan. The bottom line is if the talibans control Afghanistan, they shall control Pakistan also. If Afghanistan goes to stone ages, they shall take Pakistan along with it. The likes of Hamid Gul and Sheikh Rasheed would not know this. Do you think Afghanis are willing to go to stone age just for the cause is islam or muslim brotherhood? Even leaders like IK has not understood this. I believe Zardari wants a progressive Afghanistan free of terrorists but his hands are tied by the Army and religious parties with primitive mindset and even a major mainstream political party. Pakistan has effectively changed the immense goodwill of Afghanis to extreme hatred and is still following the same course.

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  • sadat
    Feb 22, 2013 - 8:44PM

    @Mohib: you are absalutly right. you can kick the afghans out from punjab, but who will out them from pakhtunland and baluchland ? answer is no one ok.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 22, 2013 - 8:49PM

    Typo in my earlier comment. Should read people like Khalilzad and Rasool represent the thinking of Afghanistan ….. (not Pakistan).

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 22, 2013 - 9:13PM

    @MukamilAhmad: Afghanistan wants to trade through Iran? That’s the big plan? Iran is under UN/US/EU sanctions, no one is trading with Iran. Afghanistan is land-locked and you’ll always be ‘dependent’ on someone, hence you’ll remain ‘weak’.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 22, 2013 - 9:48PM

    “Raj – USA
    27 minutes ago
    Reply
    @MukamilAhmad: Afghanistan wants to trade through Iran? That’s the big plan? Iran is under UN/US/EU sanctions, no one is trading with Iran. Afghanistan is land-locked and you’ll always be ‘dependent’ on someone, hence you’ll remain ‘weak’.”

    I HAVE NOT MADE THIS COMMENT. LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE MADE AN ERROR.

    I do not think Afghanistan shall always remain weak.

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  • Zalmai
    Feb 22, 2013 - 10:44PM

    Kudos to the Afghan government for employing Machiavellian diplomacy. It is hypocritical of Pakistan to ask the Afghan government to hand over Maulvi Faqir, a low level commander when it holds high level Taliban commanders in their prisons and also hosts Haqqani Network and Mullah Omar.

    @Ahmad

    “Interesting, well at least Afghanistan government follow their stone age customs, money first than talk about anything else. Pakistan needs to wake up, hand all refugees to them along with bag of cash they will hand over anyone one desires.”

    If you knew anything about stone age customs then you would know how Mullah Omar hosted OBL and did not hand him over to the ISI or USA. On the other hand, Mr. Afridi did exactly what you accuse the Afghan government of doing, taking money and leading the US to OBL.

    Pakistani authorities handed over Khalid Mohammad Shaikh, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef and many other less significant people to the US for a lousy buck and continue to do so.

    ET moderators please publish this since you did not allow my initial post.

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  • Butt
    Feb 22, 2013 - 11:23PM

    @MukamilAhmad:

    Well said. Stand up for your country.

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  • expaki
    Feb 23, 2013 - 12:23AM

    @Mohib: Janab Mohib Sahib Bahadhur, who wrote ” Block their transit supplies and kick their refugees out, they would listen to you” you remind me of a DUDOO, who thinks his well is bigger than all the oceans. try to come out from your very small well man.

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  • Faisal
    Feb 24, 2013 - 12:29AM

    u can return the refugees and stop thier supply from karachi. Good lesson or the ungrateful aghans. If they stop our central asian trade, it will hurt thier economy even more and the central asian states will also be annoyed with them. If thier excuse is that we helped afghan taliban, the reply is that the afghan taliban r fighting a foreigninvader while our taliban are basically just criminals and murderers of civilians and we have a right to ask for them.A guy was asking above that we can ask afghans to leve Punjab but wat about KPK. Well, I have lived in KPK and they dont like Afghans at all. Less then even us.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Feb 24, 2013 - 12:07PM

    @Raj – USA:
    {The bottom line is if the talibans control Afghanistan, they shall control Pakistan also.}
    That’s the crux of the matter. Every country has a favorite proxy and a right to try and control the neighboring country. America tried it in CUBA and failed. India genuinely felt it had the right after helping Bangladesh in independence struggle but wisely gave up.

    The question my countrymen need to answer or at least consider is whether controlling Afghanistan is worth the price of fossilization of Pakistani society which is already creeping towards stone age in terms of liberal values, tolerance, women / minority rights etc.

    Editor ET: Please publish my comment. Its realistic and not rhetoric.

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