Former ISI official Col Imam, British journalist set free

Express May 06, 2010

PESHAWAR: Militant group Asian Tigers has handed over kidnapped former Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) official Colonel Imam and British journalist Asad Qureshi to a local jirga with a set of demands, on Thursday, reports indicated.

According to sources the abductees were handed over due to growing pressure and it was said that they will soon be released. The demand which one group had put forward was to hand over Mullah Baradar, Mansoor Dadullah, and Maulvi Kabir in return. However, the local administration in North Waziristan said that there was no clue of Imam and Qureshi being released, and neither were they aware of any such move.

Chairman Defence of Human Rights and former PML-N MNA Javed Ibrahim Paracha told The Express Tribune that he could not confirm the release until he himself sees the two. He said that he was waiting for them to be brought to Kohat, from where they will be taken to Islamabad. He added that negotiations were in progress and there were issues of sureties and other things to be decided.

The two men, along with recently slain former ISI official Khalid Khwaja were kidnapped on March 26, 2010 on their way to North Waziristan, where they were going to shoot a documentary on the Taliban. The previously unknown militant group Asian Tigers claimed responsibility for their abduction.

On April 30 the captors killed Khwaja and his body was dumped at Karamkot village near the Mir Ali subdivision of North Waziristan. Local sources say the Asian Tigers is a group of some three hundred militants, but it is still unknown who they are working under. The Haqqanis had previously distanced themselves from the Asian Tigers. However, they have good ties with Colonel Imam himself.

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