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?"

PTI



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

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