Islamabad: The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday said it is ready to swap former Vice-Chancellor of a university kidnapped in 2010 for the arrested father-in-law of new Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah.
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakista (TTP) said the release of Professor Ajmal Khan, former VC, Islamia College University, Peshawar was linked to that of the chief of the banned Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi (TNSM), Maulana Sufi Muhammad.
Khan was kidnapped on September 7, 2010 along with his driver at gunpoint from Professor Colony in University of Peshawar. His driver was released last year.
The announcement came as one of the first developments to have taken place after hardline commander Mullah Fazlullah took charge of the outlawed outfit vowing revenge for the killing of the group`s leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike on November 1.
Muhammad is the father-in-law of Fazlullah, the former Taliban commander from Swat Valley.
Muhammad was arrested in 2009 and was tried for various cases related to conspiring against the state, attempting murder, rioting and stopping government employees from performing their duties.
Known for his ruthlessness, Fazlullah ordered the assassination of teenage activist Malala Yusufzai and was nicknamed "Mullah Radio" for his fiery sermons on an illegal FM station while heading a parallel administration in Swat Valley, 160 km from Islamabad, during 2007-09.
Under his command, the Taliban enforced a harsh form of Shariah or Islamic law, public executions, floggings and the bombing of girls` schools.
When the Pakistan Army sent troops into Swat to flush out the militants in early 2009, Fazlullah fled with hundreds of his fighters to Afghanistan from where he ordered the attempt on the life of Malala last year.
Fazlullah rose to prominence as a leader of the banned TNSM, which merged with the TTP in 2007 following the military crackdown on extremists holed up in Lal Masjid in Islamabad.
Earlier this year, the Taliban released a video to claim the killing of Maj Gen Sanaullah Khan Niazi in a roadside bombing which showed Fazlullah celebrating the success of the attack.