Ehsanullah’s fate: Interior ministry’s reply stuns Senate

Talal Chaudhry assures TTP spokesperson involved in several terrorist incidents will not be pardoned

Irfan Ghauri February 16, 2018
A file photo of Ehsanullah Ehsan. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: In what came as a matter of grave concern for parliament, the ministry of interior on Friday admitted that it was oblivious to matters related to former Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan.

“[The] Ministry of Interior referred the matter to civilian agencies working under its administrative control and the consolidated reply is that the issue is not dealt by them. Hence, the Ministry of Interior reply may be treated as Nil,” was the written reply from Ahsan Iqbal to a question a PPP member had asked last year.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar on June 13, last year had submitted a question before the question branch of the Senate stating, “Will the Minister for Interior be pleased to state: (a) Whether it is a fact that the former Spokesperson of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Ehsanullah Ehsan has publicly claimed responsibility for several incidents of terrorist attacks on security forces, civilians and state institutions in the country, if so, the details of those incidents and the number of persons martyred and injured in each of the same; (b) Whether any case(s) has been registered against the said person regarding those incidents, if so, the details thereof; and (c) whether the said cases registered against that person will be tried in military courts, if so, when and if not, the reasons thereof?”

Court restrains govt from releasing former TTP spokesperson

The minister’s written reply came after seven months as a surprise to everyone in the house.

The written reply further said a petition has been lodged in the Peshawar High Court by Advocate Fazal Khan, the father of martyred student of the Army Public School, Sahibzada Umer Khan, through Barrister Amirullah Khan.

The respondents in the case are the federal government, Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Ministries of Defence, Human Rights and Law and Justice, ISI, GHQ of Pakistan Army. The PHC disposed of the petition and directed the authorities not to release Ehsanullah Ehsan without court orders and investigate properly.

“On receiving the case and the recommendations of the home department concerned of the provinces, the case of Ehsanullah Ehsan will be placed before the committee constituted in the Ministry of Interior. If approved by the subject committee, the case will be trialed in a military court,” the minister added.

Babar on a supplementary question asked as to why the interior ministry had no clue about the former TTP spokesperson and self-confessed murderer of 150 children of the APS Peshawar, even though it was the focal ministry under NAP.

It took more than nine months for the interior minister to finally admit that the civilians had no role in making the policy at fighting militants as it was dealt with by mysterious unnamed agencies, he said, and asked, “what does it prove”.

“Is it correct that Ehsanullah Ehsan has publicly claimed responsibility for several gruesome attacks on security forces, civilians and state institutions?

“If yes, details of terror incidents and the number of those martyred and injured in each terror incident owned/claimed by him?

“Whether cases have been registered against Ehsanullah Ehsan subsequent to his admission together with details thereof?

“And whether cases registered against Ehsanullah Ehsan will be tried in military courts, if yes, when and if not, why not?”

Senator Sirajul Haq of the JI asked whether there were more TTP captives in custody of the agencies in addition to Ehsanullah Ehsan and what was being done about them.

TTP commander surrenders to security forces

Senator Babar said that his term as senator will soon expire and asked the presiding officer, Col (retd) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, to give a ruling such that the issue “is pursued even when he would no longer be a senator after the expiry of his term”.

Senator Mashhadi said that he will bring the matter to the attention of Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani for a ruling.

Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) flayed the government for not pursuing the case, as the PHC “is already seized with the matter”, adding “there are reports that the terrorist may be given clemency which would cost the country dearly”.

This prompted Col (retd) Mashhadi, who was presiding over the session, to say that “no one is above the law” and insisted that the interior ministry should share a detailed reply with the house.

He also asked the minister to approach the defence ministry of in this connection and inform the house next week.

PkMAP Senator Usman Kakar said, “Cases are being registered against politicians within no time,” adding, “When it is a matter of a hardcore terrorist, who has confessed to his involvement in terror activities, his fate is yet to be decided.”

However, Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudhry said the government had no plan to give former TTP spokesman clemency.

He said the government would proceed against him in accordance with law.

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