News of Ehsanullah Ehsan's escape is 'true', state is aware, says Interior Minister Ijaz Shah

Updated February 17, 2020

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Interior Minister Ijaz Shah speaks to reporters at the parliament building. — DawnNewsTV
Interior Minister Ijaz Shah speaks to reporters at the parliament building. — DawnNewsTV

The news that former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan has escaped from the custody of Pakistan security agencies is true, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah confirmed on Monday.

Responding to a question during an informal conversation with reporters at the parliament in Islamabad, the minister said he had read reports of the former TTP leader having fled.

When asked whether there was any truth to the reports, he replied: "The news is true, it's true."

The minister added that the "state is aware" of his escape. He did not provide any details.

Asked by a reporter whether the state was doing anything about the matter, Shah said: "A lot is being done. You will hear good news."

The confirmation comes following around 10 days of official silence over reports of the former TTP spokesman's escape, which had been announced by him in an audio message released on social media.

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Mysterious 'escape'

Mystery surrounds the circumstances of the escape of Ehsan, who had surrendered himself to a Pakistani security agency under an agreement some three years ago, with sources saying that he fled during one of the operations to capture and target terrorists.

The sources told Dawn that Ehsan had to be tried for his crimes but before the trial, all possible information had to be extracted from him to conclude the operations and that it was during one such operation that he was able to flee.

Notwithstanding his claim of being in Turkey, some sources believe the former militant spokesman is in Afghanistan.

In a short audio message, which could not be independently verified, Ehsan had disclosed that on January 11, 2020, he had managed to escape from the “custody of the Pakistani security authorities”.

Ehsan, whose real name is Liaqat Ali, said he had surrendered to a Pakistani security agency on Feb 5, 2017, under an agreement. He had claimed that he had honoured his part of the agreement but had alleged that the Pakistani authorities violated its terms and kept him in a prison along with his family.

He had claimed that he faced hardships during his custody and circumstances compelled him to plan his escape.

He did not provide details of his escape but had said that he would release “terms of the agreement” he had entered into with Pakistani authorities, the “approving authority” and “the individual who had furnished assurances” with regard to its implementation.