Monday Feb 17, 2020
Interior Minister Ijaz Shah on Monday admitted that former spokesperson of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Ehsanullah Ehsan had indeed escaped custody.
This marks the first time the government has officially acknowledged the development.
In a conversation with a reporter at Parliament House, the minister — when asked whether reports regarding Ehsan’s escape were true or not — admitted that Ehsan had indeed escaped.
When asked again if the state knew that Ehsan had left (the country), Shah repeated that the state does know and that is why he is confirming the news.
When asked if something was being done in response to the escape, Shah said: "A lot is happening".
However, he did not clarify what exactly "a lot" meant.
Earlier this month, Ehsan had announced through an audio message circulated on social media that he was no longer in the state's custody and had managed to escape.
An unnamed government official, commenting on the development, had at the time stated simply that Ehsan had surrendered voluntarily to the government on Feb 5, 2017 under an agreement.
Security sources had said the state had launched many successful anti-terrorism operations based on information provided by Ehsan.
Soon after surrendering in Feb 2017, the former TTP spokesperson had during a TV interview admitted his involvement in several terrorist incidents.
On the other hand, no formal statement was ever issued on behalf of the state on the circumstances and conditions of his surrender.
Instead, a video 'confession' had been released in which Ehsan had provided details of terrorist organisations working with hostile foreign agencies to destabilise Pakistan.
Ehsan had stated in the 'confession' that terrorist organisations were working with Indian and Afghan intelligence and security forces to carry out subversive activities in Pakistan.