‘Wanted Afghans handed over to Kabul’
By Iqbal Khattak
PESHAWAR: Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao on Saturday said Pakistan had handed over ‘wanted Afghans’ to the Kabul government.
However, he did not name those wanted but said all legal requirements were met before their handover. “Pakistan enjoys good relations with Afghanistan and wanted Afghans were handed over after meeting all legal requirements,” he told reporters, after inaugurating a machine readable passport (MRP) office in Peshawar.
A source told Daily Times that Pakistan had handed over Taliban officials arrested in Balochistan. “The Afghan government approached Pakistan through diplomatic channels to seek the custody of those arrested,” said the source, on condition of anonymity.
Sherpao said Asif Ali Zardai was not arrested when he arrived in Lahore. “He is a free man and was not arrested,” he said. “On Zardari’s demand, police were posted to his residence in Lahore,” the interior minister said. He said that PPP claimed that the government had arrested around 40,000 party activists was incorrect. “Those arrested will be freed after meeting legal requirements,” he pledged.
Sherpao said the religion column in the MRP was not restored under pressure. “We respected public sentiments. Some opportunists wanted to exploit the issue but we foiled their attempts,” he said.
With the MRP, the government could arrest smugglers, which would improve Pakistan’s standing internationally, he said. “In the old passport, photo’s could be changed but this is not the case in the MRP,” he said.
The minister criticised the MMA government in Peshawar and said it was focusing on the wrong issues.