Court tells govt not to hand over Taliban leaders

Last Updated: Monday, March 15, 2010 - 17:56

Lahore: A Pakistani court on Monday barred
the federal government from handing over 10 high-profile
Afghan Taliban leaders believed to be in the custody of
authorities to any foreign country and sought a detailed
report on the matter by March 26.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif
issued the order in response to a petition filed by Khalid
Khwaja, a former Inter-Services Intelligence official who now
heads a rights group.

The petitioner asked the High Court to bar the
government from handing over arrested Afghan Taliban leaders,
including militant leader Mullah Muhammad Omar`s deputy Mullah
Abdul Ghani Baradar, to the US or any other country.

The Pakistan Army has confirmed the arrest of Baradar
but there has been no official word on the other commanders.

Asad Tariq, the counsel for the petitioner, told the
court today that the Taliban were not involved in terrorism in
Pakistan.

"No Muslim can carry out terror activities in
Pakistan. (US security contractor) Blackwater and Hindus are
involved in such acts," he said.

Chief Justice Sharif remarked that "Muslims and not
Hindus are involved in terror acts in Pakistan".

However, Sharif contended that Hindus "might be the
financers" of such attacks.

The Chief Justice barred the government from handing
over the Afghan Taliban leaders to any country and ordered the
Attorney General to submit a detailed report on the militant
commanders to the court on March 26.

Besides Baradar, Pakistani law enforcement agencies
have reportedly arrested Afghan Taliban leaders like Mullah
Abdul Salam, Maulvi Abdul Kabir, Mullah Mir Muhammad, Ameer
Muawiyia, Syed Tayyab Agha and Hakeemuddin Mehsud.

During a visit to Islamabad last week, Afghan
President Hamid Karzai demanded that Baradar and the others
should be handed over to his country.

He also expressed doubts about Pakistan`s motives for
arresting the commanders.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the Pakistan
government will respond to Karzai`s demand after consulting
legal experts.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 15, 2010 - 17:56

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