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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 19:35 GMT
Freed Pakistan militant back home
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed
The terms of Saeed's release remain unclear
The Pakistani authorities have allowed the founder of the banned Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba to return home - but he is reported to be under house arrest.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, former head of the outlawed group, returned to his home in the eastern city of Lahore early on Thursday after being held for five months at an undisclosed location.


There is a mosque just two minutes walk away. I was not even allowed to go and offer prayers there

Hafiz Saeed

He was arrested in May, shortly after two attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir which killed more than 30 people, including 25 Indian soldiers and their families.

India blamed the group for both attacks.

Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is mainly active in Indian-administered Kashmir, was banned last year.

'Detention'

The BBC's Shahid Malik in Lahore says Mr Saeed's return home is likely to trigger speculation that he may have made a deal with the military authorities.

But Mr Saeed complained on Thursday that he was "still under federal government's detention".

"There is a mosque just two minutes walk away. I was not even allowed to go and offer prayers there," he told the AFP news agency.

Mr Saeed had earlier been detained after the December attack on the Indian parliament, which Delhi blamed on Lashkar-e-Toiba and other militant groups.

But he was freed by a review board of the Lahore High Court, which refused to extend the three months period of detention.

On Wednesday, the head of the violent Sunni Muslim group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, was released by the authorities.

Maulana Azam Tariq had been held for nearly a year under a public order law.

He has been blamed for the killings of hundreds of rival Shia Muslims.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

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See also:

31 Oct 02 | South Asia
13 Jan 02 | South Asia
03 Oct 02 | South Asia
13 Jan 02 | South Asia
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