Controversial Swat cleric Sufi Muhammad walks free after 8 years in jail

  • The TNSM chief was shifted to an undisclosed location by his relatives after his release

PESHAWAR – The chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), Sufi Muhammad was released from jail Monday after his arrest and subsequent imprisonment in 2009 for hate speech against the government, authorities said.

Last week, the Peshawar High Court ordered the controversial cleric’s release after accepting his bail application in two different cases ─ one pertaining to hate speech against the government and the other related to an attack on a police station.

The TNSM chief had in the last hearing of the case argued that he should be released “as his health is deteriorating with each passing day.”

Sufi was escorted outside the building premises by police officers after all official procedures were completed, the Dawn quoted police officials as saying.

He was shifted to an undisclosed location by his relatives after his release.

On July 30, 2009, a Swat police station had booked the TNSM chief for hate speech against the government. In that speech, Sufi Muhammad had termed the Constitution “un-Islamic” and demanded enforcement of the Sharia.

The TNSM chief had been imprisoned since his arrest when the final phase of a military operation against militants was launched in the Malakand region.

A number of cases were registered against Sufi Muhammad; however, in each case, witnesses against him had either died or could not be traced.

The earlier cases in which Sufi Mohammad was acquitted pertained to hatching conspiracy against the state, an attack against government installations, including police stations, in parts of Swat over 18 years ago, speech in which public was incited to violence against the then rulers, including retired general Pervez Musharraf.