Islamabad, Oct 18 : The bounty of Rs.100 million for the capture of Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan is a pointless exercise, said a Pakistani daily, noting that it was strange that "no thought had apparently been given to locating him until the attack on Malala Yousafzai".

"We seem to have fallen into the habit of closing the cage door long after the beast has escaped," said an editorial in the News International which called it "a pointless exercise - perhaps intended to make a big show of things, but serving no purpose at all in real terms".

Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s made the bounty offer of Rs.100 million for information leading to the capture of Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan.

The daily said that Ihsan, probably working under a pseudonym, has been active for years, giving out statements and remaining easily accessible to the media.

"It is strange that no thought had apparently been given to locating him until the attack on Malala Yousafzai," it said, referring to the teenaged peace campaigner who was shot at by the Taliban. Malala was treated at Peshawar, taken to Rawalpindi and eventually shifted to Britain.

"We should also ask the good Mr Malik as to precisely why informants are needed to track down Ihsan. Surely in this age of technology, our intelligence apparatus should be able to track him down successfully.

"His almost perpetual presence at the end of a mobile phone should help - and if it does not, we should ask why we are funding this extensive network, whose bosses need to answer some questions related to performance and utility," it said.

The daily questioned the focus on Ihsan.

"Yes, he is the ‘voice’ of the Taliban - the man who airs their threats and claims. But perhaps the men we should be going after with greater force are the leaders of the outfit, such as Maulana Fazalullah - the TTP head in Swat..."

"It is also questionable if head money should be put up as a means to track down wanted persons. It has not worked in the past - perhaps due to fear of the Taliban. Rather than putting local people at risk, the authorities need to use the resources of the state to act against militants and break up those networks that have for years been able to keep up their killing games," it added.


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