Footage showing kidnapped vice-chancellor of the Islamia College University (ICU) Ajmal Khan was released on Thursday. In the video Ajmal Khan appeals to the government to accept the rebels’ demands to secure his release.
Ajmal Khan, a locally-renowned academic and a close ally of the ruling Awami National Party (ANP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was kidnapped on September 7.
In the video tape, aired by private TV channels GEO and ARY, Khan is shown wearing a traditional Pakhtun cap with a beard, and with two masked men holding Kalashnikov assault rifles standing behind him. Khan appeals to the government that he has been kidnapped by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) because he is related to ANP chief Asfandyar Wali. He goes on to appeal that the government should negotiate with the TTP and listen to their demands.
“I am a heart patient and cannot live here any longer. The government should do something for me and should negotiate with the Taliban,” Khan said in the video recording.
“The government should solve their problems (with the Taliban), if they have any,” he added.
An intelligence official in Peshawar said the professor was being held hostage in one of the lawless tribal areas where authorities have no access.
SP Campus Peace Corps (CPC) Ijaz Ahmed told The Express Tribune that the incident occurred at the Professors Colony area, near Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University at around 9:30 am.
Security officials said Taliban insurgents have been using kidnapping as a ransom tool, and to bargain for the release of their militants being held by the authorities.
(With additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2010.