Pakistan asked me to lead death squad, says former Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan

In an audio, he claimed that after some time of his surrender he was given the list of prominent voices in order to facilitate Pakistan in eliminating rogue elements.

Pakistan asked me to lead death squad, says former Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan

New Delhi: Former Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan has said that Pakistani authorities had given him a hit list of people who they would like to be killed in the North-Western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In an audio, he claimed that after some time of his surrender he was given the list of prominent voices in order to facilitate Pakistan in eliminating rogue elements.

According to the audio Eshan said, "I was asked to lead a death squad.. and the list included people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and they were Pashtuns from all walks of life including journalists. (Mujhe kaha gaya ki ap ik death squad ko lead karein..aur ap gadaron aur mulk key dushmanon key khilaf kam shuru karey..Jo list muje diya gaya usmai zyada tar afrad ka taluk Khyber Pakhtunkhwa se tha aur woh sab pashtun they jis mai zindgi key har shobey se talku rakhney waley afrad key name they, jin mai pashtun safee afrad key name bhi shamil they)."

In the audio, he talked about his conversations with military intelligence and the parleys that took place. 

Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had escaped Pakistani custody earlier in 2020. Ehsan claimed the group was responsible for shooting Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Wagah border suicide attack and other terror attacks in the south Asian country.

The development comes even as more than 30 women journalists in Pakistan have in a joint statement highlighted the "vicious attacks" on them through social media. 

The statement said, "The online attacks are instigated by government officials and then amplified by a large number of Twitter accounts, which declare their affiliation to the ruling party." It demanded, "Hold all such individuals within the government accountable and take action against them" and Standing Committees on Human Rights of the upper and lower house of parliament to take notice of these developments.

Women journalists include--Benazir Shah, Amber Shamsi, Munizae Jahangir, Gul Bukhari, Gulalai Ismail. In 2019, Arooj Iqbal, a 27-year-old women journalist was shot dead in Lahore. While the main suspect is her husband, Arooj's family told RSF (Reporters without Borders) that, "Arooj was clearly targeted because of her journalism work."

Pakistan is ranked 145th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.