Peshawar: VC Ajmal Khan completes 2 years in kidnappers’ captivity
PESHAWAR: The vice–chancellor of the Islamia College University Ajmal Khan would complete two years in Taliban captivity as the government and law-enforcement agencies have failed to secure his release. The aging vice-chancellor was kidnapped on September 7, 2010 from the Professors’ Colony adjacent to the University of Peshawar Campus by unknown people. The Tehrik–i–Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later claimed responsibility for his kidnapping. The TTP have released four video tapes of the detained vice-chancellor, showing him imploring the government and all others who matter to take steps for his release. His latest video-tape was released August 30 in which he appeared desperate.
Ajmal Khan seemed disappointed with the government, which is why he appealed to certain vice-chancellors, who happened to be his close friends, teachers and students to urge the government to expedite efforts for his safe release. He specifically named vice-chancellors Prof Qibla Ayaz, Dr Ihsan Ali and Rasool Jan along with others to make efforts towards that end.
Ajmal Khan’s family, which has no other male member, has been living in agony for the last two years. A close relative of the vice-chancellor told this correspondent that they have no complaint against anyone. “We have nothing to say but appeal to the Taliban to set him free on humanitarian grounds. He is an old man suffering from cardiac problems. Therefore, he should be released,” he said while wishing not to be named.
The appeal that Ajmal Khan made to his friends, colleagues and students in the recent video pointed to the fact that he felt ignored. The government and the law–enforcement agencies have so far made no concrete measure to ensure his safe recovery. The government, however, gave him four-year extension as vice-chancellor after the expiry of his tenure in June this year.
Ajmal Khan, who is a close relative of Asfandyar Wali Khan, chief of the Awami National Party (ANP), has also been forgotten by the universities’ administration particularly the vice-chancellors, teachers and students as they could not launch any vigorous campaign to force the government to make serious efforts for his safe and early recovery.
The employees of the Islamia College University could only stage a token strike and protest camp for a few days last year, seeking release of the vice-chancellor. The vice-chancellors’ committee, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), other teachers’ bodies and the students organisations too failed to mount pressure on those at the helm of affairs to ensure release of the vice-chancellor.
Ajmal Khan is not the first vice-chancellor to be kidnapped by the militants. Vice-chancellor of Kohat University of Science and Technology Prof Dr Lutfullah Kakakhel was kidnapped from the semi-tribal region of Darra Adamkhel in November 2009, but his release was secured after seven months when the government reportedly accepted the militants’ demands.