Islamabad, Feb 15: Lashkar-e-Islami chief Mangal Bagh, who wields considerable influence in the Khyber Agency, has claimed that Pakistan's envoy to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin is not in the restive tribal area along the frontier.
Azizuddin went missing in the Khyber Agency four days ago while on his way to Kabul.
"Azizuddin is not in the tribal region and it would be 'unjust' for the government to conduct any sort of military operation in the Khyber agency to locate him," Mangal Bagh said. The Dawn News quoted Bagh as saying that Azizuddin had not been kidnapped from the Khyber agency contrary to media reports. Pakistani security forces on Thursday launched a crackdown against tribesmen in the Khyber Agency after they failed to trace Azizuddin.
Earlier, North West Frontier Province Governor Owais Ghani said that Azizuddin is in the Khyber Agency as authorities have found "important clues" there. Political authorities said the search was currently focussed on the Peera Valley and Zakakhel areas.
As part of the crackdown, security forces have arrested 12 tribesmen. Ten Khasadar militia manning a check post passed by Azizuddin's car have also been detained on charges of negligence.