Pak court frames charges against prominent pro-Taliban cleric

Last Updated: Monday, January 17, 2011 - 22:15

Peshawar: A Pakistani anti-terrorism
court Monday framed charges against pro-Taliban cleric Maulana
Sufi Muhammad, the head of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah
Muhammadi, who has been accused of sedition and conspiring
against the state.

The trial of Sufi Muhammad, the father-in-law of
absconding Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah, is being
conducted within the heavily guarded Central Prison in
Peshawar.

Charges were formally framed against the radical
cleric in connection with several cases during today`s
proceedings.

Sources said that the presiding officer of the
anti-terrorism court, Asim Imam, conducted the proceedings.

The charges are being framed against Sufi Muhammad,
TNSM leader Maulana Khalid and 68 other activists in phases.

The judge framed charges in four cases filed at
Mingora, Kabal and Timargara police stations on January 31.

The judge fixed February 7 for framing charges in five
other cases filed in Matta police station.

The public prosecutor informed the court that the
government had reopened old cases dating from 1994 against
Sufi Muhammad.

One of these cases registered at Mingora police
station pertained to the killing of PPP legislator Badiuz
Zaman allegedly by TNSM activists.

At an earlier hearing on January 4, Sufi Muhammad had
refused to sign the chargesheet presented by the judge.

The firebrand cleric has been booked under the
Anti-Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Penal Code.

Maulana Fazlullah led Taliban fighters in the
northwestern Swat valley till the army launched an operation
to flush militants out of the region.

Sufi Muhammad was arrested after the collapse of a
peace deal he brokered with the Taliban in Swat.

PTI



First Published: Monday, January 17, 2011 - 22:15

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