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November 22, 2001
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Pak leader who recruited jihadis for Afghanistan imprisoned

A Pakistani Islamic leader who recruited hundreds of tribesmen to fight alongside the Taleban in Afghanistan has been imprisoned for three years along with 30 of his followers.

Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-i-Mohammadi chief Maulana Sufi Mohammed was sentenced to three years' in prison on Wednesday but it 'is not a conviction', Secretary of Home and Tribal Affairs Javed Iqbal said in Islamabad.

The provincial court in the North West Frontier Province, which handed down the jail term, has the authority to release him any time, he added.

Mohammad and 30 of his supporters were handed down prison terms under the Frontier Crimes Regulation governing the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan for entering the country without valid documents and for possession of unlicensed arms.

"The convicts have been sent to a prison in Dera Ismail Khan, in the NWFP," an interior ministry official said.

The TNSM chief is reported to have mobilised over 4000 armed men and taken them to Afghanistan. Recent reports said over 500 of them were killed while the fate of hundreds of others was not known.

Meanwhile, a number of Pakistani fighters who deserted the Taleban after its fall continued to return in trickles.

Eight Pakistanis who crossed over to the country without travel documents were arrested.

Earlier, reports said 83 Harkat-ul Mujahideen fighters were also arrested on their return.

PTI

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
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