Dubai: Pakistan security agencies are conspicuously silent about the mysterious escape of Ehsanullah Ehsan, one of the most wanted terrorists from their custody.
Even Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is known to be transparent and bold in giving statements, has not uttered a word on this issue despite widespread reports in the media around the world. Opposition parties in parliament have also raised questions about Ehsan’s escape but no statement.
A number of media outlets have approached the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) — media wing of Pakistan armed forces — but there was reluctance to confirm or deny the news. The silence is leading to misgivings as some reports suggested that he was let go under the agreement after his ‘job was done’ but the truth is yet to be disclosed. Sooner the better as Pakistan needs to be transparent in the wake of its campaign that it has crushed terrorism to attract tourists and investors from the world. It is appalling to note that no official statement has been given so far. People of Pakistan have the right to know whether the high-profile member of the most feared terrorist group has indeed escaped from military custody.
Ehsanullah Ahsan was spokesperson of the banned outfit TTP which had claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and a heinous attack on Army Public School (APS) killing 133 innocent children. The TTP has also claimed to carry out scores of terrorist attacks across Pakistan killing hundreds of people including the armed forces personnel. Parents of the victims of the APS carnage have also filed a petition in the court seeking answers on this issue.
In a recent audio clip, Ehsan claimed that he had escaped from the custody of Pakistani security forces. According to reports, the audio message, which has also been widely shared on social media, was originally posted on a Facebook profile by the name of Liaqat Ali.
Eshan's audio message
In the short audio message, Ehsan disclosed that on January 11, 2020, he had managed to escape from the custody of the Pakistani security authorities.
In his message, Ehsan said he was forced to flee because Pakistani institutions had violated an agreement they had entered into with him, before his surrender.
“I had surrendered myself to Pakistan’s secret agencies on February 5, 2017, after an agreement,” he said. He claimed that he had abided by the agreement for three years, but Pakistani institutions (he did not name any) had imprisoned him and his children against the spirit of the agreement.
“We tolerated the hardships of imprisonment calmly for three years but eventually we were forced to make a plan to escape from there,” he said.
Conflicting escape reports
There are conflicting reports about his whereabouts. It is not clear whether he is in Turkey, Afghanistan or still in Pakistan. It was also reported that his family also managed to escape from a ‘safe house’. But officials did not confirm these reports.
Another report says he managed to flee during one of the operations to capture and target terrorists. It is believed that he has been helping Pakistani security forces to give information about potential hideouts of TTP leaders under an agreement that he would be freed later. He was never brought to court to face charges since he surrendered three years ago — a question which netizens are debating on social media.
Parliamentarians speak out
‘The mysterious escape’ issue was raised during the National Assembly session on Monday. Opposition leaders in parliament demanded that the matter be referred to a parliamentary committee for investigation.
Outspoken Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Mohsin Dawar from Pashtun Tahafuz Movement and the PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar questioned the government’s silence over the issue.
Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari asked how the culprit behind APS tragedy, Malala attack could flee the country.
He said the escape of the terrorist was a proof of the government’s “incompetence and failure. “The government will have to give a reply. Was it complicit or incompetent?” he said, stating that the consequences for the country were grave in both situations.