LHC asks ministry to submit report on Taliban leaders` arrest
Last Updated: Friday, March 26, 2010, 18:53
Lahore: A Pakistani court on Friday asked the Defence Ministry to submit a report on the arrest of 10 high-profile Afghan-Taliban leaders, including the outfit's number two Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, by April 12.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khwaja Mohammad Sharif issued the directive in response to a petition filed by Khalid Khwaja, a former ISI official who now heads a rights group.

Khwaja had asked the court to direct authorities to deal with the Taliban leaders according to Pakistani laws.

During today's proceedings, the government's lawyer informed the court that the Interior Ministry had nothing to do with the reported apprehension of the Taliban leaders.

The Chief Justice then issued a notice to the Defence Ministry to submit a report on the issue by April 12.

The High Court had earlier directed authorities not to hand over the arrested militant leaders, including top Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Baradar, to any other country.

It had also sought a detailed response from the Interior Ministry.

Khwaja's counsel Tariq Asad told the court that extraditing the Afghan-Taliban leaders to any foreign country would be against laws of Pakistan.

He said they should be interrogated only by Pakistani intelligence agencies.

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.

However, the army has only confirmed the arrest of Baradar.

During a recent visit to Islamabad, Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded that Baradar and other Taliban should be handed over to his country.

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

Karzai's aides have hinted that the arrest of the militant leaders in Pakistan can "sabotage" peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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

The Taliban spokesman noted that India and Afghanistan have had historic ties and said "The Taliban aren?t in any direct conflict with India. India troops aren’t part of NATO forces, they haven’t occupied Afghanistan."

He claimed that Taliban "favour neither India not Pakistan" but hastened to add that it cannot "ignore Pakistan as it is a neighbouring Islamic country" and was on good terms with them when they were in power.

"India, on the other hand, backed anti-Taliban forces of the Northern Alliance (NA) and refused to do business with our government... Our complaint is India backed the NA (Northern Alliance), and is now supporting the Karzai government," Mujahid said.

He was also critical when asked about Indian projects and whether those were beneficial for Afghan people.

Claiming that India was doing all this to promote its interest in Afghanistan, he said, "If India were so fond of the Afghan people, why did it not undertake development projects under Taliban rule?"


First Published: Friday, March 26, 2010, 18:53

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