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New Delhi/Islamabad, February 7, 2020
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, who was responsible for the terror attacks on Malala Yousafzai and at the Peshawar Army School, has escaped from the custody of military in Pakistan.
In an audio recording released on Thursday and shared via an online private messaging platform, Ehsanullah claimed that he along with his family had managed to escape from the custody of Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies on January 11.
Top sources in Pakistan confirmed that Ehsanullah has escaped from a safe house, a bungalow on Warsak road in Peshawar, where he was detained along with his wife and two daughters. The house is near the same Army school which was attacked by TTP in 2014, killing around 150 children, sources said. However, there was no security when he fled the house.
The Pakistan Army got to know about his escape on January 12 and soon after raided his home in Sagibala village in Mohamand tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
His father Sher Mohamad, brother Shafiq and uncle Sher Badshah were arrested and are being interrogated, sources said, adding that an investigation into the matter has also been initiated.
Sources said the former spokesperson of TTP has crossed the border and is now at a safe place in Afghanistan. He will soon release a video with more details about his captors, a source in Pakistan said.
Ehsanullah, also the spokesperson of another dreaded group Jamaat ul Ahrar, is responsible for several terror attacks in Pakistan and had a bounty of $ 1 million on him. In 2012, he was involved in the attack on Malala, who later won the Nobel prize for peace. She was shot in the head for defying Taliban diktats and pursuing her education and highlighting the atrocities of the militant outfit.
Ehsanullah is also a prime accused in the 2014 attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar which killed 134 school children and 15 staff members.
Ehsanullah was involved in the suicide bombing of Shiites in Rawalpindi and Karachi, killing of nine foreign tourists and their guide in Gilgit-Baltistan area, twin blasts targeting peace committee volunteers in Mohmand agency, suicide attack near the Wagah border and the 2016 bombing of an Easter gathering in a Lahore park that killed at least 75 people and injured more than 300 others.
In 2017, he surrendered before the Pakistan Army under "mysterious circumstances". Soon after his surrender, a Pakistani TV channel was allowed to interview Ehsanullah who at the time claimed that he was working for India's external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). However, after three years in custody, Pakistan Army was yet to file a charge-sheet against him, sources in Islamabad said.
The sources also confirmed that the audio clipping was Ehsanullah's voice. Speaking in Urdu, Ehsanullah claimed that he had followed the law in the last three years but Pakistan's dishonest and corrupt institutions had betrayed him.
Ehsanullah said he was forced to give statements, perhaps alluding to the TV news interview, under an agreement between him and Pakistani authorities but none of the promises were kept.
The agreement had been arranged by an influential person, he said, adding that he would soon answer all the questions related to his confinement and also expose all the plans of the Pakistani intelligence agencies.