Dir: 3 held for kidnapping Chinese engineers
DIR: The Lower Dir police have arrested three persons for kidnapping two Chinese engineers and their Pakistani bodyguard and driver and presented them before an Anti–Terrorism Court (ATC) in Mingora, Swat. A police officer, requesting anonymity, told The News that Humayun, Iqbal and Nisar, hailing from Tormang, were arrested for kidnapping the engineers and were produced before the ATC, Mingora. Replying to a question, he said: “It will be disclosed later whether they are directly involved in the kidnapping or abetted but at the moment, I do confirm that they have been arrested in the Chinese kidnapping case.
” The kidnappers succeeded to shift the engineers, along with their bodyguard and driver, to the Taliban-controlled area in the troubled Swat valley, thanks to the traditional lethargy of the police to act in time. A stitch in time could save nine but a criminal apathy of the police enabled the militants to get an upper hand and now, they are trying to dictate terms.
Also, the government would have to pay a huge price for the kidnapping of the Chinese engineers. The Swat chapter of the Tehrik-e–Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may not release the kidnapped Chinese engineers even if their demand for swap of prisoners with the government is met, The News has learnt.
Their release may take days or weeks as the militants, who have taken the engineers captive and kept them somewhere in the mountainous area of the troubled Swat valley, are not ready to discuss their demand(s) for their release before the swap of prisoners with the government. Setting a condition for negotiating the release of the Chinese engineers, the militants said on Sunday that they wanted the exchange of the prisoners with the government before discussing the release of the engineers and their Pakistani bodyguard and driver. They said the security forces had arrested around 70 Taliban militants during the ongoing clashes with them in different areas of the valley and they had been kept in various jails. “We have certain demands for setting the Chinese engineers free but we will discuss them after the exchange of prisoners,” the spokesman for the Taliban in the valley, Muslim Khan, told this scribe from an undisclosed location. He, however, hinted at freeing them after getting some kind of guarantee from the government or the Chinese.