Islamabad: The Afghan Taliban on Wednesday claimed their former deputy chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has not been freed by authorities here, prompting a denial from Pakistani officials who said he was free to "meet and contact anyone".
Pakistan had announced on September 21 that Baradar, arrested in Karachi in 2010, had been released to help the peace process in war-torn Afghanistan.
However, Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, "It is very sad that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is still spending days and nights behind bars in Pakistan and we are deeply concerned about his health condition which is deteriorating by the day."
In a statement in Pashto posted on the group`s website, he added, "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Baradar`s family and his sympathisers consider freedom as Baradar`s right and we want his immediate release on Islamic and humanitarian grounds."
Rejecting the allegations, Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry told PTI: "Pakistan has released Taliban detainees to facilitate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
"Mullah Baradar has been similarly freed. As far as we are concerned, he is free to meet and contact anyone to advance the cause of reconciliation."
Afghan leaders are not fully convinced by Pakistan`s announcements about his release. President Hamid Karzai said on Monday that Baradar still does not enjoy complete freedom and expressed hope that Pakistan will give him an opportunity to play a role for peace in Afghanistan.
According to media reports, Baradar has been released from Pakistani custody but continues to remain under watch by security agencies.