By    Zia Ur Rehman

10 september, 2010

British-Pakistani journalist Asad Qureshi and his servant Rustam Khan , who were kidnapped in March by a mysterious militant group in Pakistan’s restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, has been released,but the militants didn’t free the former Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) official Col Ameer Sultan Tarar, commonly known as Col Imam, according to the media reports and sources.

Asad Qureshi, Pakistani-British Jouranalist : (Photo : Twitter)

Qureshi had been working on an independent documentary, commissioned by Channel 4, on Pakistan’s militants when he was snatched by militants in North Waziristan on 26 March. Qureshi,  Col Imam, another former ISI official Khalid Khwaja, and his servant Rustam Khan were kidnapped on March 26 from Mir Ali town in North Waziristan where they had gone to make a documentary on Taliban and the victims of the US drone attacks. Initially, a little known militant organisation,calling itself  the Asian Tigers, had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and set their terms for the release of the kidnapped men and then they shot dead Khwaja and placed his body with a note accusing him for spying for the United States on the roadside near Mir Ali town on 28 April. Khwaja headed a local human rights group nanmed “Defense of Human Rights” and campaigned for the recovery of the missing persons allegedly detained by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in the fight against Islamist militants.

Col Imam and Khalid Khwaja

The militant organisation, calling itself then Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, had demanded $10 million as ransom in exchange for  Qureshi and release of 160 militants for Col Imam and reportedly later restricted their demand to payment of ransom. There were no details available at the moment about the deal that secured the release of Qureshi and his servant but  unauthentic  media sources reported that a ransom of 14m rupees was paid. Some media reports say that Qureshi’s release on Wednesday evening was brokered by relatives.

“We can confirm Asad Qureshi has been released and our consular team are providing him with consular assistance,” said George Sherriff, a spokesman for the British High Commission in Islamabad, giving no further details.

The fate of the third captive,Col Imam, could not be confirmed whose  whereabouts  was last seen in a video emailed to journalists by the militants on 26 July. it is worth to mention that Col Imam went on to train the Afghan mujahedin during his time with the the ISI .