Kidnapped ex-ISI official with close Taliban link dies
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 00:22
Peshawar: Authorities in the troubled Waziristan tribal region of northwest Pakistan have confirmed that a former ISI official who had close links with Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar and was kidnapped about 10 months ago, has died of a heart attack, a senior official said on Monday.

Tariq Hayat, the Security Secretary for the semi-autonomous tribal areas, told PTI that political authorities in both North and South Waziristan tribal agencies had confirmed from their sources that Sultan Amir Tarar, better known as Colonel Imam, had died of a heart attack in the custody of his captors.

Colonel Imam's body has not yet been recovered as the abductors were demanding a huge ransom for it, other sources said. Intelligence officials posted in North and South Waziristan too had reported that Colonel Imam had died of a heart attack, the sources said.

Reports from the tribal region yesterday said Colonel Imam had been killed by militants.

He was kidnapped along with former ISI official Khalid Khwaja, British journalist Asad Qureshi and his driver in the tribal belt on March 26 last year.

They were travelling to Waziristan, where Qureshi intended to work on a documentary film on the Taliban.

Khwaja was shot dead on April 30 last year by the kidnappers, who accused him of working for the Pakistani security establishment and the US.

The Asian Tigers, a hitherto unheard of group, had claimed responsibility for kidnapping the four men.

Qureshi and his driver were released in September last year apparently after the journalist's family paid a hefty ransom.

The kidnappers had released several videos in which Colonel Imam called on authorities to take steps for his release.

At one time, Colonel Imam had close links with Aghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar and several Afghan militant commanders and tribal elders were reportedly involved in negotiations for his release.


First Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 00:22

comments powered by Disqus