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January 4, 2002
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Pakistan fundamentalist leaders go underground: Reports

Leaders of a fundamentalist outfit, which had sent an estimated 10,000 'volunteers' to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban, have gone underground faced with the wrath of relatives of those who have gone missing in action, Pakistani media reports said.

While no figures are available on those Pakistanis who have gone missing in Afghanistan, 'reports suggest that hundreds of them were killed during bombing by the United States while others have been captured by anti-Taliban forces of the Northern Alliance," The Friday Times has reported.

Quoting 'sources close to the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat-e-Muhammadi' (TNSM), which had sent these 'volunteers', the magazine said the outfit's leaders 'were being pressured by the families of missing volunteers. They want TNSM to locate the men and if they are in Afghan prisons to ensure their immediate release'.

"Reports indicate there is much unrest within the TNSM and its leaders have largely been discredited," it said.

Stating that while TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad was under arrest, the report said the outfit's leaders in Malakand Agency in the North West Frontier Province 'have gone underground to escape the anger of families of missing volunteers who were instigated by the TNSM to go to Afghanistan and fight alongside the Taliban'.

PTI

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