`ISI offered ransom to kill India’s Afghan envoy`

The ISI allegedly offered $1.5 mn to an Afghan scribe to kill Jayant Prasad.

Kabul: Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is allegedly reported to have offered USD 1.5 million (Rs 7.50 crores) to an Afghan journalist to assassinate India’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Jayant Prasad and USD 0.8 million (Rs 3.60 crores) to kill Baloch leader Brahmdagh Bugti.

In an interview to be aired on a Punjab-based television network tonight, Nawab Momand, who has worked with several leading media organisations, including Afghanistan’s popular Tolo TV and Arman Radio, Afghanistan’s first FM radio station, reveals that the ISI deposited USD 0.8 million (Rs 3.60 crores) with a Kabul jeweller to be paid to him on the day he killed Bugti, the grandson of the legendary Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti.

But being true to his Pathan tradition of protecting a person who has sought shelter, Nawab Momand’s conscience did not allow him to kill Bugti and he got in touch with the Afghan authorities.

The Afghan authorities recorded his further conversations with ISI contact man Haji Ayub, but when Afghan security was close to arresting the latter, he gave them the slip.

Thereafter, Momand claims in the 30-minute interview that the ISI stepped up pressure on him by setting a month-long deadline to accomplish the task.

When he failed to carry out the order, the ISI reportedly threatened to abduct and eliminate his family. Fearing this, Momand and his family fled from Kabul and are now living incognito, running from one place to another.

With his journalism career ruined and the collapse of a construction company that he was running in a partnership, Momand says he has been forced to seek refuge with the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

Ever since his grandfather Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed allegedly by Pakistan troops in August 2006, Brahmdagh Bugti has remained underground in Pakistan. It is alleged that he is running the Baloch Liberation Movement from Afghanistan with the support of India’s external intelligence agency – the Research Analysis Wing (RAW) - and the Government of Afghanistan.

Pakistan has alleged that the Research Analysis Wing (RAW) provided Brahmdagh with a passport, money and arms to run the insurgency movement in Balochistan.

Islamabad alleges that the Indian consulates at Kandahar and Jalalabad are indulging in providing arms and money to the anti-Pakistan forces functioning in the tribal areas of NWFP (now named Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Balochistan.

The Karzai government had been denying his presence in Afghanistan.