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.


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

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