Baradar being freed today, says Islamabad
In an effort to further facilitate the reconciliation process, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was being released, the Foreign Office in Islamabad said in a statement late on Friday.
The announcement came hard on the heels of a meeting among Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director General Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
In a significant development that may help break the impasse in the Afghan reconciliation process, Pakistan is set to free a former top aide of the elusive Taliban spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, today (Saturday).
The decision to free Mullah Baradar was endorsed at the high-level meeting, a diplomatic source confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan New. The move was aimed to reinforce Islamabad’s sincerity in facilitating the Afghan-led peace bid.
The Afghan government hailed the decision, hoping Baradar’s release would boost the peace campaign. “We welcome that this step,” said President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi.
Separately, High Peace Council spokesman Shahzada Shahzad told an Islamabad-based newspaper: “We respect Pakistan’s positive response to the Afghan government and the High Peace Council. We are thankful to Pakistan for honouring its promise to release Baradar.”
Last week, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan had decided in principle to free Baradar. But he explained the Taliban’s second in command would not be handed over to Afghan authorities.
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