Governor General of Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan said that the criminals who were arrested by the Pakistani police after abducting several Iranians and escaping to Pakistan on Sunday would be handed over to Iran in the near future.Speaking to FNA on Wednesday, Habibollah Dehmardeh also said that the released hostages would fly back to the provincial capital city of Zahedan today.
Meantime, spokesman of the Sistan and Balouchestan governorate said that Pakistan has so far delayed extradition of the hostage-takers because it claims that the criminals are its own citizens.
“Despite the fact that Iranian law enforcement police have identified the bandits (as Iranian nationals) and that the abductors’ affiliation to the terrorist group Jondullah has proved their Iranian nationality, the Pakistani police is not willing to hand the bandits over to Iran on the pretext that they are Pakistani citizens,” Hasan-Ali Nouri said.
He reminded that Islamabad is required to extradite the hostage-takers to the Islamic Republic, considering that Iran and Pakistan have signed an agreement on the extradition of criminals.
Elsewhere, an informed security source told FNA that since the hostage takers are members of the terrorist Jondullah group which is supported by the US security services, Washington has exerted much pressure on Islamabad to refrain from extraditing the criminals to Iran in a bid to prevent a scandal unveiling its interventions in Iran’s domestic issues.
Bandits kidnapped 21 passengers, including an education ministry official, on Sunday and crossed the country’s borders with Pakistan later in the day.
After the armed men escaped to Pakistan with their hostages, the Pakistani police laid a siege on them and arrested the whole gang members.
The hostage-taking operation by the bandits is believed to be an act of retaliation to avenge for the death of three bandits, including a well-known gang leader, Saturday night.
The bandit, Molla Shah-Bakhsh who was killed by Iranian law enforcement troops last night, was reportedly in charge of the recent abduction of a Belgian couple who were later released by Iranian police forces.
A senior Iranian military official earlier said that the bandits are members of Abdul-Malik Rigi’s group, also known as Jondullah.
Rigi, a well-known gang leader whose group has already staged several terrorist operations in southeastern Iran, has long been chased by Iranian troops. In one of the worst cases, his group killed 22 citizens and abducted 7 more in Tasouki region on a road linking the capital city of Zahedan to another provincial town.
Deputy commander of the IRGC’s regional headquarters in Sistan and Balouchestan, Mohammad Javad Asna Ashari told FNA in Zahedan on Sunday that the bandits had blocked the Chabahar-Iranshahr road at around 3 am local time (23:30 GMT) and set several cars, including two oil tankers, ablaze.
“They have taken the two drivers hostage and it is not clear yet if this terrorist operation has led to the wounding or martyrdom of anyone,” he continued.
The military official underlined that the abductors are members of Abdul-Malik Rigi’s group.
FNA dispatches added that bandits first abducted 20 passengers of passing cars and the director of the education ministry’s regional office in Chabahar, Ali Zare’ee, who was on a mission to Zahedan.
A local ministry official said that Zare’ee had been accompanied by a Balouch expert at the time of abduction, who was freed by the hostage-takers.
Reports also said that kidnappers along with their hostages were in mountainous areas in Pakistan before they were arrested by Pakistani police.