PESHAWAR: A day after he was released from four years in Taliban’s captivity, Islamia College University’s Vice Chancellor Ajmal Khan revealed that he spent his days teaching children of his captors.
“These four years were difficult, but my time passed well as the militants were good to me throughout,” he said at a press conference Friday morning at his residence in the Professors Colony. “I started out teaching two children to pass my time, but the number later increased to 32, with most children in the second or third grade.”
He revealed that his captors, local militants from Peshawar, catered to his needs, saying, “Initially, the supply of medicine was a problem and there were no qualified doctors, but the matter was later resolved.”
Khan’s relatives told The Express Tribune that he was handed over to his family at 11:30pm Thursday. Security officials say he was recovered during military action in North Waziristan Agency, but Khan and other tribal sources remained tight-lipped on the circumstances that led to his release.
Referring to his abduction, Khan said, “I was shifted from Peshawar to a mountainous area, I guess it was in the Tirah Valley. I had no idea [as] we were sedated. Then we reached Waziristan. There were tight security arrangements in the beginning but security was relaxed later and two men guarded me at a time.” Khan said he was in the custody of the Mehsud Taliban for the last few months.
Referring to former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Ali Haider Gilani and the late Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s son Shahbaz Taseer, Khan said he had not met them while in captivity. “They were not kept with me, but I heard that they were with al Qaeda,” he said.
Khan said he was brought to Miramshah, North Waziristan, to contact his family via phone and was allowed to call home on a weekly basis over the last three months. He said the militants made around 10 to 12 videos which were later publicly released, but he was unaware of their demands. Khan thanked the government, the University Employees Association and the media for their efforts to secure his safe release. He plans to resume his duties at Islamia College University soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2014.
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