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Many fighters rejoined militancy after their release in Pak

By Rezaul H Laskar
May 07, 2012 14:59 IST
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Several associates of a terrorist killed in a United States drone strike three years ago may have rejoined militant activities after their release from custody, according to a media report on Monday.

The men released from custody were associates of a doctor named Arshad Waheed, who was killed in a drone attack in Waziristan in March 2008, the Dawn newspaper quoted official documents as saying.

The men were accused of plotting attacks on former President Pervez Musharraf, the Danish Embassy, Surgeon General Lt Gen Mushtaq Baig and a military bus in Lahore. Documents based on reports submitted by the Inter-Services Intelligence, military intelligence and the interior ministry to the federal review board, a judicial body

formed by the supreme court to examine the detention of suspects, said some suspects who were detained under the Security of Pakistan Act and subsequently released by courts were no longer present at their given addresses.

The documents said the intelligence agencies had information about the men reuniting with terrorist groups.  Arshad Waheed and his brother, cardiologist Akmal Waheed, were accused of having links with Al Qaeda, attacking the Karachi Corps Commander's convoy in 2004 and financially aiding and harbouring activists of the banned Jundallah group.

They were exonerated of the charges in 2006.

Two accomplices of the brothers, Mohammad Ilyas alias Qari Jamil and Mohammad Rizwan alias Shamsul Haq, are currently in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. Both were tried, long with seven other accused, for possessing explosives, attacking the Danish Embassy, a serving army general and a military bus.

Jamil and Haq and the seven others - Mohammad Nadeem, Naeem Shakir, Osama Waheed, Abdul Razzaq, Zeeshan Jalil, Faisal Ahmed and Mohammad Sarfraz - were booked by Rawalpindi police in 2009.

Nadeem, Shakir and Waheed were acquitted by an anti-terrorism court but were kept detained in Adiala jail. Razzaq, Jalil, Ahmed and Sarfraz challenged the court's orders against them in Lahore high court.

The high court set aside the anti-terrorism court's conviction in April last year but all seven suspects as well as Jamil and Haq were then placed under detention in Adiala jail under the Security of Pakistan Act.

The interior ministry and the Islamabad district administration issued their detention orders fearing that the acquitted men would get involved in terrorist activities. The detention orders were issued on the recommendation of the ISI and with the approval of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

However, the Islamabad High Court ordered the release of the seven suspects on June 28 last year, saying the evidence against them was insufficient. An official of a security agency told Dawn that in the last couple of years, dozens of suspects allegedly involved in high-profile terrorist attacks had been acquitted by courts.

After their acquittal, the suspects had moved to different parts of the country and it was not possible for law enforcement agencies to monitor each and every acquitted person, the official said.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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