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Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 18:56 UK

Pakistan ex-MP alleges abduction

By Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News, Islamabad

Shah Abdul Aziz
The government denies using Shah Abdul Aziz as a Taliban go-between

A former Pakistani lawmaker says he was kidnapped by security agencies after he refused to act as a Taliban informer.

Shah Abdul Aziz told the BBC he was "dragged" into the case of the kidnapping and murder of a Polish engineer after his refusal.

He was released on bail on Thursday and denies any involvement in the case.

Mr Aziz says he helped broker a peace deal between the government and the Taliban in 2008 but the government denies asking him to negotiate.

'All lies'

Mr Aziz is known for his close links to Islamist militants.

He disappeared from an Islamabad neighbourhood on 27 May.

The Taliban respect [my family] and the security agencies wanted to use this for their own ends. When I refused, they dragged me into the Polish engineer's case
Shah Abdul Aziz

Security officials confirmed to the BBC that he was being held and interrogated for his links to the Taliban.

However, he was later produced in court, on 24 July, and charged with ordering the murder of the engineer Piotr Stanczak in North West Frontier Province.

Mr Stanczak, who had been working on a project in a gas field there, was kidnapped by the Taliban in September 2008.

He was beheaded by the militants in February after talks with the government for the release of captured Taliban members broke down.

Mr Aziz said he had been "kidnapped and detained by the intelligence agencies", adding: "I absolutely deny being involved in any manner in the kidnapping and murder of the Polish engineer."

The prosecution in the case say a Taliban militant named Ataullah had been arrested. He confessed to involvement and said that Mr Aziz was the mastermind.

Mr Aziz said: "It's all lies to malign a respectable person.

"Everybody knows that my family is the most respected and influential in our area.

Baitullah Mehsud
Mr Aziz says he helped negotiate a peace deal with Baitullah Mehsud

"The Taliban respect us and the security agencies wanted to use this for their own ends. When I refused, they dragged me into the Polish engineer's case."

He added: "But I am confident that the truth will come out as I have nothing to do with it."

Mr Aziz confirmed that he had helped negotiate a peace deal with former Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in the wake of the insurgent attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai.

"Some senior [Pakistani] interior ministry officials approached me to help them in the national interest," he said.

"They said India was now getting ready for war and we can't deal with the western border as well."

Mr Aziz says he got the council of tribal elders and religious scholars to convince the Taliban to support an unconditional ceasefire with the army.

He said the Taliban agreed to take care of the defence of the western border, as long as the Pakistan army was needed on the eastern front with India.

It is understood that when Western nations learned of the deal in December 2008 it played a key role in their moves to restrain India from any military action.

"I was asked to act as a go-between by the Taliban and deliver a letter to [army chief] General [Ashfaq Pervez] Kayani from Baitullah Mehsud," Mr Aziz said.

He said it was delivered to senior officers in January 2009 but there was no reply from the army.

Pakistan's government has always denied the existence of any such letter or asking Mr Aziz to negotiate with the Taliban.

"The army will not even consider such a possibility. This is utter speculation," Pakistani Gen Athar Abbas told the BBC in an earlier interview.

Mr Aziz stands by his story and says he will now take the government to court for kidnapping and torturing him.



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