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A Pakistani court today granted bail to the father-in-law of Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah over eight years after he was arrested on charges of sedition and terrorism. The Peshawar High Court (PHC) granted bail to 84-year-old Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the chief of banned militant outfit Tehreek-e-Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), due to his old age and poor health. Vying for implementation of Sharia in Pakistan, TNSM was declared a terrorist outfit and banned in 2002.
It operates mainly in the Dir region, Swat and Malakand districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Muhammad was arrested in 2009 by Pakistan army during military operation Operation Black Thunderstorm in Swat against the Taliban. He was arrested along with his two aides for inciting violence and committing terrorism. He was charged with sedition, aiding terrorism and conspiracy. The court ordered release of Muhammad, who is currently hospitalised, against two surety bonds of Rs 700,000 each. His arrest came following a peace deal between the then PPP government and TNSM. Under the deal, the then President Asif Ali Zardari had signed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation law for Swat, paving way for the implementation of Sharia law in the Malakand region on April 19, 2009. In January 2011, Muhammad denied to an anti-terrorism court that he had any links to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and that he only sought enforcement of sharia in Malakand.
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