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Pakistan demands Afghan handover of captured militants

Last Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 09:01

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday said it had asked Afghanistan to hand over all persons engaged in "anti-Pakistan activities", including a senior Taliban commander captured by Afghan forces earlier this week.

Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul had informed his Pakistan counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar about the capture of Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad during a telephone conversation on Wednesday night, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan told a weekly news briefing.

"We hope that he would be handed over to Pakistan as soon as possible because he has the blood of many innocent Pakistanis on his hands," Khan said.

Pakistan hoped that "all the people who are engaged in anti-Pakistan activities will be captured, arrested and handed over" by Afghanistan, he added.

Foreign Minister Khar "appreciated" the capture of the Pakistani Taliban commander, which "shows the growing level of cooperation and trust between the two countries," Khan said.

Mohammad, a senior leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, had taken refuge in Afghanistan`s Kunar province after security forces launched a campaign against him in Bajaur tribal region in 2008.

Reports said he was captured along with four aides on Monday while trying to cross into Pakistan.

During the briefing, Khan reiterated Pakistan`s backing for any initiative that can help achieve this objective of a "stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan".

"Let me state it very clearly that any initiative taken in this regard should be solely focused on this very objective - peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan...It should have a transparent strategy and we expect that any initiative that is taken in this regard will ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not used against Pakistan," he said.

Khan was responding to a question about Pakistan`s position on a recent trilateral meeting of the US, India and Afghanistan in New Delhi.

In response to another question about Pakistan`s decision to hand over operations at the Gwadar deep sea port to China, Khan said this was an "economic and commercial venture between two countries enjoying excellent relations" and with a convergence of strategic interests in the region.

"We hope that transferring the administrative control to the Chinese company would not only help development of the area but would also help China have better access to other markets, and for its energy supplies to have a shorter route," he said.


First Published: Friday, February 22, 2013 - 09:01

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