SWAT: The remaining two abducted employees of a private mobile phone company were released by militants on Tuesday evening.

According to one of the abducted person, who was released with four other employees on the second day, told Dawn that he and six other employees were working at a mobile phone tower near Barthana Mountain when 10 masked men armed with modern weapons blindfolded them and took them to an unidentified place.

The seven abducted persons included Yousaf Shah, Mohammad Khalid, Arsalan, Mohammad Asbar Malik, Abdul Hakeem, Waqat Ali and Qayyum Khan.

“At the unknown location, the armed men started questioning us,” he said, adding that the five persons including Mohammad Asbar Malik, Abdul Hakeem, Waqat Ali and Qayyum Khan were released while Yousaf Shah and Mohammad Khalid were kept there by the kidnappers.

He said that the militants demanded Rs100 million ransom for the release of the two remaining persons. “However, I learnt yesterday that the remaining two persons were also released. I tried to call them by their mobiles but their phones were powered off,” he added.

A contractor, who also wished not to be named, told Dawn that they were installing a mobile phone tower at Jana Mountain near Barthana area. “On Sept 13, I was away to bring necessary items for the tower installation. When I came to the tower, I learnt from locals that all the seven workers were abducted by the militants,” he said.

He said that initially the militants were demanding Rs100 million but all of the abducted people were released without any ransom.

Recently, many people including elders and elected representatives in Swat complained that they received telephone calls and messages from militants, asking them to pay a huge amount for release of the abducted men.

Muhammad Zeb Khan, the SHO of Chuprial police station, when contacted, confirmed the release of the remaining two abducted persons. He said that police had lodged FIR under 7ATA of the Pakistan Penal Code and search operation against the abductors was under way.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2022

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