Where is Escaped Pakistani Taliban Member Ehsanullah Ehsan?
Earlier this month, former Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan released an audio message announcing his escape from a high-security Pakistani military prison. The message was circulated through his Whatsapp account. In his message, Ehsan said that ”I have been in detention for three years and I honored the deal with great patience for three years. In the near future, I will make more revelations about the deal and people involved in it.”
Clues as to Ehsan’s Whereabouts
Ehsan alleged that he had escaped after Pakistan’s security forces failed to hold their end of the deal in return for his surrender in 2017. In another message, he claimed that he had run away to Turkey.
Analysts have argued that the high-profile terrorist had become an informant for Pakistan’s military helping them search and nab terrorists hiding inside the country’s territory. In support of this theory it is worth noting that following his arrest, the country also saw a massive decrease in number of terror attacks.
Reaction to Ehsan’s Escape
Ehsan’s message and its contents raised a lot of hue and cry in Pakistan. The media pressed the country’s political leadership and military establishment to issue a statement but the authorities remained mum about the whole affair. The families affected by Ehsan’s terror attacks staged a protest seeking answers about rumors his escape.
On February 10, Pakistan’s Interior Minister (Retired) brigadier general Ijaz Shah confirmed to a reporter that the news was true. “That [the information on his escape] is correct, that is correct.” He added that, “you will hear good news,” when asked regarding the progress on hunting him down.
However, the state did not issue any formal statement or a clarification on his escape reports.
Ehsan’s Terrorist Resumé: Brutal Bloodshed and Savage Sectarian Hatred
Ehsanullah Ehsan is no ordinary terrorist. He shot the youngest Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai for attending school, orchestrated an attack on a Pakistani school that killed 156 and injured 114 school students and staff members, killed 69 Christian worshipers celebrating Easter in a local park in Lahore and was responsible for killing another 60 people in a suicide bombing at the India-Pakistan border.
The list goes on and on. Ehsan has claimed responsibility for all of these attacks. Accordingly, when he was apprehended in April, 2017 by Pakistan’s security forces those affected by his terrorist activities who had survived saw his surrender as a small measure of justice finally being delivered.
But his arrest wasn’t typical. Reportedly, Ehsan was living in a safe house with his family where he even fathered a child. The terms of his surrender and the intelligence he provided to Pakistan’s security agencies allowed him a lavish lifestyle even in prison. However, Ehsan’s escape at a time when the Afghan Taliban are nearing a deal with the United States for withdrawal of troops has further raised questions. More so, it has raised questions about the ability of Pakistan’s security establishment to maintain security and about their treatment of the terrorists who have killed hundreds of their own residents.