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Pak VC in Taliban custody pleads for help

August 31, 2012 13:54 IST

A university vice-chancellor abducted by the Pakistani Taliban from the country's troubled northwest nearly two years ago has appealed to his colleagues and student groups to pressure the government for his release in a new video issued by the militants.

Ajmal Khan, vice-chancellor of the Islamia College University in Peshawar, is seen in the six-minute video asking vice-chancellors of universities and student groups to push the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to take measures for his release.

The video was released by the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Hakimullah Mehsud.

Khan, a cousin of Asfandyar Wali Khan, the head of the Awami National Party that rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was abducted on September 7, 2010.

In the video, he says he had spent five Eid festivals in custody of militants as the government has failed to meet the demands of those who are holding him hostage.

The video features Khan speaking in Pashto, Urdu and English and weeping while reminiscing about his children.

"I am seriously worried about my children. I have not seen them for quite a long time. I appeal to vice-chancellors...and students' organisations to urge and pressure the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to take interest in my release. There are only a few demands. If the government accepts the demands, these people will release me," he said.

Khan looks depressed and frail in the video, which shows him wearing white clothes and a white cap.

This was the fourth video released by Khan's kidnappers.

The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the abduction and made several demands for Khan's release.

They had set a deadline for the acceptance of their demands last year and threatened to kill Khan if the government failed to accept their demands.

They subsequently extended the deadline for an indefinite period following an appeal from Khan's family and some religious scholars.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan has said his group recently freed Khan's driver in exchange for a jailed militant.

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