Released Taliban commander Mullah Baradar is a free man and can go where he likes, said Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, on Wednesday.
To questions, on the sidelines of the seventh regional workshop for judges, prosecutors and police officers in South Asia on countering terrorism, Mr. Fatemi said Baradar, following his release last month, was still in Pakistan and that the country was providing him security.
However, Pakistan was not going to escort him to anywhere. He said the government did not want any harm to come to Baradar.
Saying Pakistan was going to take all necessary steps in the Afghan reconciliation process, Mr. Fatemi added no dates were yet finalised for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Kabul.
Pakistan has faced criticism from Afghanistan that Baradar was being kept in prison and not allowed to interact with anyone. The matter was taken up by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai when he met Mr. Sharif in London. An official statement on Mr. Karzai’s website said that during the fourth trilateral summit among Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.K. on Tuesday, the leaders of the three countries discussed Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan peace process and agreed that a delegation of the Afghan High Peace Council would soon visit Pakistan to meet Baradar. The two sides also agreed to cooperate in elimination of terrorist sanctuaries.
Mr. Sharif accepted the invitation of Mr. Karzai for an official visit to Kabul, and said he would visit Afghanistan within the coming weeks.
Baradar, a close associate of Mullah Omar, was freed last month to help peace negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan but there appears to be no headway on the talks after his release. The Afghan High Peace Council is mandated to carry out talks with the Taliban and Baradar was expected to play a key role. There are, however, different views on whether Baradar is still as powerful as he was before his arrest in 2010 and whether he can make a significant contribution to the peace process.
The Taliban has been quoted in news reports as saying that Baradar has not been freed.