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ISI chief to be expelled over terrorist escape

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Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence Faiz Hameed. by .
Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Faiz Hameed.

Even as Ehsan, the militant who is responsible for terror attacks on Malala Yousufzai and the Peshawar army school, had surrendered in 2017 in mysterious circumstances and was in the military custody for the last three years, Pakistan Army was yet to file a charge-sheet against him…writes Aarti Tikoo Singh

Ehsanullah Ehsan and Malala Yousafzai. by .
Ehsanullah Ehsan and Malala Yousafzai.

The Director General of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed may soon be ousted as a fallout of the escape of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan from Pakistan Army custody.

Top sources said after IANS on February 7 broke the news story of the escape of Ehsan, the militant who is responsible for terror attacks on Malala Yousufzai and the Peshawar army school, the military came under immense pressure from the public in Pakistan.

The following day, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a one-on-one meeting with Lt Gen Hameed to discuss the case that has triggered outrage in the country.

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a luncheon hosted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the Heads of Delegation to the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 24, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Muzi/IANS) by Li Muzi.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

Even as Ehsan had surrendered in 2017 in mysterious circumstances and was in the military custody for the last three years, Pakistan Army was yet to file a charge-sheet against him.

In an audio recording released last Thursday and shared via an online private messaging platform, Ehsan claimed that he along with his family had managed to escape from the custody of Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies on January 11. He said he was forced to give statements under an agreement between him and Pakistani authorities but he was betrayed. He was referring to the Geo TV news interview in which he had claimed that he was working for India’s external intelligence agency RAW.

Ehsanullah escaped from a safe house, a bungalow on Warsak road in Peshawar, where he was detained along with his wife and two daughters. The house is near the same army school which was attacked by the Pakistani Taliban in 2014, killing around 150 children. However, there was no security when he fled the house. Sources said that the former spokesperson of TTP crossed the border and is now at a safe place in Afghanistan.

Ehsanullah Ehsan by .
Ehsanullah Ehsan

“It has been quite embarrassing for the Pakistan Army given the grave charges against Ehsan. They are not able to explain how he was let go. People are asking for heads to roll,” a source in Islamabad said.

The Pakistan Army and the civilian administration are now mulling two options to replace DG ISI Lt Gen Hameed. Lt Gen Majid Ehsan Corps Commander Lahore and Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, director general of Strategic Plans Division Force (SPDF) are the top contenders, sources said.

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