Pakistan played a role in helping Iran arrest its most wanted Jundallah chief Abdolmalek Rigi who was seized on board a flight from Dubai, Islamabads ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Abbasi said on Wednesday.
Islamabads disclosure of intelligence cooperation comes amid US denial that Rigi, the leader of the Sunni Muslim militant group Jundallah, is its puppet.
“I must tell you that such action cannot be carried out without the cooperation of Pakistan. I am happy that he has been arrested,” Ambassador Abbasi told a media conference at Islamabads mission in Tehran.
Without elaborating, Abbasi said details of Pakistans help to Iran in arresting Rigi would be revealed in “two or three days time.”
The Al Jazeera news channel said Pakistan handed Rigi over to Iranian authorities a week ago. Rigi and his group has been siding with the Baloch separatists who want an independent Balochistan carved out of western Pakistan and eastern Iran.
Rigi, the head of shadowy rebel group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), was captured on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.
An airport official from Bishkek told AFP on condition of anonymity on Tuesday that the passenger plane Rigi was travelling in was forced to land on Iranian territory by two Iranian jet bombers.
Irans official Press TV, quoting an unidentified source speaking on condition of anonymity, added on its English-language website that Rigi was seized along with one of his deputies.
It said they “were captured after their plane was brought down by security forces in an airport in the Iranian Persian Gulf city of Bandar Abbas.”
Declaring Rigis arrest on Tuesday, Irans Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi told reporters that the militant had been at a US military base in Afghanistan just 24 hours before he was nabbed.
We are warning America and European countries that the intelligence services of the West should stop support for such groups and their terrorist acts, he said. We have clear documents proving that Rigi was in co-operation with American, Israeli and British intelligence services.
At a dramatic press conference, he flourished a photograph that he said showed Rigi outside the base, though he gave no details of where the base was, or how or when the photograph was obtained.
The photograph gave no clues to the location. Photographs were also shown of an Afghan passport and identity card said to have been given to Rigi by the Americans.
Mr Moslehi also alleged that Rigi had met Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the then NATO secretary-general, in Afghanistan in 2008, and had visited European countries. He said agents had tracked Rigis movements for five months.
Iran has repeatedly claimed that Jundullah, which has carried out bombings in support of demands for better treatment for the border region of Baluchistan, is backed by Pakistan, Britain, Israel and the US. It has been alleged by Western media that in 2007, the CIA gave funding and weapons to Jundullah.
But the rebel group countered Irans narrative, insisting its leader was captured by US, Pakistani and Afghan intelligence and handed over to Iran as part of a backroom deal. The rebels did not say where he was taken.
Very soon, we will produce documents proving American, British and regional intelligence services co-operation with the [Iranian] regime, said a statement posted to the movements website, Junbish.blogspot.com.