A tale of two Rigis: Iran seeks extradition of Jaish al-Nasr chief

Published: March 9, 2015
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Officials in Islamabad say Abdul Salam Rigi, not Abdo-Sattar, was arrested in Balochistan. STOCK IMAGE

Officials in Islamabad say Abdul Salam Rigi, not Abdo-Sattar, was arrested in Balochistan. STOCK IMAGE

QUETTA: Iran has announced it will send a delegation to Pakistan to seek the extradition of Jaish al-Nasr commander Abdo-Sattar Rigi, who Tehran claims was arrested by Pakistani security forces last week.

According to officials in Islamabad, however, it was Jaish al-Adl head Abdul Salam Rigi – not Abdo-Sattar – who was arrested while travelling on Taftan-Quetta highway in Balochistan.

“So far, a delegation has not been sent to Pakistan to pursue the case,” Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying on Sunday. “[But] we have asked the foreign ministry to make the necessary arrangements,” he said.

“If the Pakistani government agrees, a delegation will be sent to pursue the case of Abdo-Sattar Rigi,” the minister added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced Tehran was carrying out legal procedures to extradite Abdo-Sattar. “Based on laws, Pakistan should also cooperate with us in the extradition [of Abdo-Sattar],” he said.

The statement came after the chief of the Interpol bureau in Iran, Brigadier General Massoud Rezvani, announced that Abdo-Sattar Rigi had been arrested in Pakistan. “Based on our information, he is [Abdolmalek] Rigi’s cousin, and a red alert has been issued for him,” Rezvani had said.

But officials in Islamabad said on Sunday that the suspect arrested was Salam Rigi, a cousin of Jundollah chief Abdolmalek Rigi, confirming reports circulated by Pakistan’s media last week.

According to the reports, Salam was arrested after security forces intercepted the bus he was travelling in some 50km from Quetta.

Iranian officials, however, maintained that it was Abdo-Sattar Rigi who was arrested. They claimed he was carrying Salam’s ID card at the time.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2015.

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