With Afghanistan refusing to hand over senior Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Maulvi Faqir to Pakistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said Interpol would be requested to intervene in this regard.
Maulvi Faqir — who had fled from Bajaur tribal agency into Afghanistan in 2010 in the wake of military operations — was captured from the Mohmand Dara district of Nangarhar province by Afghan intelligence on Monday. The arrest was confirmed by Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul on Wednesday in a telephonic conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.
A day later, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said Islamabad hoped that Maulvi Faqir would be handed over to Pakistan as he was involved in the killing of a number of Pakistanis. Further, he said, Pakistan saw the arrest as evidence of the growing level of cooperation and trust between the two countries.
However, reports from Afghanistan suggest that Pakistan’s request would not be entertained. In a statement to The Express Tribune, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “The Afghan government had requested the Pakistani government to return Afghan Taliban prisoners held by Pakistan so that they could participate in Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation efforts… The Pakistani side responded that they could definitely not hand over Taliban prisoners to the Afghan government because there is no prisoner exchange agreement between the two countries.”
Pakistan has released some Afghan Taliban detainees — including a couple of ministers in the regime — over the past couple of months but key players like Mullah Baradar remain in its watch. As such there is no official word on the number of Afghan Taliban detainees in Pakistan or their location. Pakistan has sought to flag the release of the 20-odd Afghan Taliban detainees as proof of its commitment to the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.