TTP demands ‘protection money’

Published June 17, 2013
In this Oct. 4, 2009 file photo, Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen with his comrade Waliur Rehman during his meeting with media in Sararogha. — Photo AP
In this Oct. 4, 2009 file photo, Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen with his comrade Waliur Rehman during his meeting with media in Sararogha. — Photo AP

RAWALPINDI, June 16: The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is reported to have asked two local businessmen to pay ‘protection money’ to them to help militants carry out ‘jihad’.

A senior police official told Dawn that the chief executive of an Islamabad-based business establishment had received four letters allegedly from the head of the TTP’s 'finance wing’.

The businessman has been asked to pay $25 million. The letter, bearing the name of its sender, said the money was needed for jihad and it would be received abroad (in Dubai). “If you paid the money, we will protect you. Otherwise, there will be no guarantee.”

The TTP threatened that its ‘operational wing’ would come into action if the money was not paid.

When an official of the business establishment was contacted, he denied having received any letter from the TTP. “No such thing is either in my knowledge or of the chief executive,” he said.

But the police official said a complaint had been received from the business establishment and its security had been strengthened.

He said one of the businessmen contacted police, then a security audit of the business establishment was conducted and its chief executive was provided security.

“Another businessman (a property tycoon) has also been receiving extortion threats, but he has not informed police,” the official said.

Attempts to contact the property tycoon remained fruitless.

Last month, the TTP demanded Rs100m from a businessman belonging to Murree.

Police said a man delivered a letter and a Universal Serial Bus or USB (a data storage device) at the office of Raja Hanif.

Mr Hanif is father-in-law of Sadaqat Abbasi, who contested the recent general elections as a candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf from Murree.

Mr Hanif said in a statement recorded by the police that the letter had been written on the TTP’s letterhead.

Police could not trace the two suspects seen on the USB video, saying they needed money for jihad.

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