ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Brigadier (retd) Ijaz Ahmed Shah for the first time officially confirmed on Monday that the news of escape of former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan from the custody of Pakistani security agencies is true.

“I have read this news (of fleeing of Ehsanullah) and it is true,” he said while responding to a question during an informal interaction with media persons at the Parliament House here.

When pressed by another reporter whether the state was aware of this escape, the minister said that the state knew this and that is why he was confirming the news. However, he did not provide any further details.

Responding to another question whether the state was doing anything about the matter, Shah said, “A lot is being done. You will hear a good news.”

The confirmation came after more than 10 days of official silence over the reports of the escape. In the first week of February, an audio clip of Ehsanullah became viral on social media wherein he could be heard stating that he had been forced to escape from the custody after Pakistani authorities had violated the terms of his deal he signed to surrender. However, no government official ever verified the clip till the interior minister spoke on the issue. The former TTP spokesman who also remained associated with the militant Jamaatul Ahrar had surrendered to the Pakistani security agencies “under an agreement” in 2017.

In the short audio message, Ehsanullah claimed that he had honoured his part of the agreement but had alleged that the Pakistani authorities violated the deal. He further said that he faced hardships during imprisonment for three years and then was forced to make a plan to escape. He also disclosed that he escaped on January 11, 2020.

Ehsanullah in the message didn’t provide details of his escape but said that he would release “terms of the agreement” he had entered into with Pakistani authorities.

Soon after his surrender in February 2017, the former TTP spokesman in a video confession had admitted his involvement in several terrorist activities in Pakistan. He had also claimed that some local militant organizations had been working with hostile foreign agencies to destabilize Pakistan.