Ex -ISI official presumed to be dead is alive: report

The media had reported last month that Sultan Amir Tarar alias Colonel Imam was executed by a little-known militant faction called the Asian Tigers in North Waziristan Agency after authorities turned down its demands for his release.

However, the Express Tribune newspaper reported today that Colonel Imam is alive and his family is "negotiating with the captors to secure his release". A Taliban faction that had close ties with the Colonel during the jihad against Soviet troops in Afghanistan is trying to broker a deal, the sources were quoted as saying.

The abductors have demanded Rs 50 million and the release of some jailed militants for Colonel Imam's freedom, the report said. The government rejected these demands, forcing the former ISI official's family to collect the amount on its own.

The family is hoping that the abductors will settle for the ransom alone, the report said. The family has decided to sell its house in Lahore and some friends have agreed to contribute money.

It is believed the abductors are not executing the Colonel because of his close links with Taliban chief Mullah Omar and other senior militant commanders. Col Imam was kidnapped with another former ISI official Khalid Khwaja, and Asad Qureshi, a British journalist of Pakistani origin, in Waziristan in March last year.

Qureshi was released in September after paying a ransom of Rs 20 million while Khwaja was executed by his captors in April.

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