Pakistan unsure over identity of man beheaded in Taliban video

Pakistani Taliban militants offer prayers in Mamouzai area of 
Orakzai Agency in November.
Pakistani authorities have not confirmed that a kidnapped Polish engineer is the man that was beheaded on a Taliban video, despite assertions from Polish officials that they are certain the man is Piotr Stanczak.

“We want to be absolutely sure,” said Abdual Basit, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign office. “Hopefully we would be able to confirm it shortly, but unless we are 100 percent sure, it would be premature for us to react.” He noted that the Pakistani government is waiting to be informed by “concerned authorities.” News of Stanczak’s death came on Friday. Polish officials have said they were kept in the dark during negotiations for his release, but Basit denied that. Stanczak was kidnapped September 28 from the city of Attock in the Punjab province. He had been based there for a Polish survey company searching for natural gas. Polish embassy spokesman Peter Adams said there had been no demands for ransom. The Taliban had demanded the release of Taliban prisoners being held by the government and a pullout of government security forces from the tribal areas. Adams said all efforts had been made by Polish authorities to pressure the Pakistani government to do whatever it could to secure Stanczak’s release.

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“From the Polish side we did whatever we could, pressuring the Pakistani government on the presidential and prime minister level,” Adams said. “Problem was, this was solely Pakistan’s responsibility. Demands were only towards (the) Pakistan government.” While there were assurances that the Pakistani government was doing everything it could and that Stanczak would be freed soon, Adams said it was never clear what the government was actually doing to secure his release. “We are waiting for confirmation and waiting for any answer (about) how this happened and why did this happen,” Adams said. Kidnappings and attacks against foreigners have risen sharply in recent months throughout the country. Most recently, an American working for the United Nations was kidnapped in Quetta, and Peshawar has also been the scene of various attacks against foreign diplomats and journalists.