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Friday, 31 January, 2003, 12:10 GMT
Militant suspects freed in Pakistan
Police officials in Dehra Ismail Khan in north-western Pakistan say 21 members of an outlawed organisation - the Harkat-ul Mujahideen - who were arrested on Tuesday, have now been released.

They say the men were released on the orders of the chief secretary of the North Western Frontier Province, Shakil Durrani.

The police earlier said they had recovered two rifles, a satellite telephone, a digital diary and jihadi literature from the men.

But the Superintendent of Police in Dehra city, Usman Zakria, has denied that the men were freed under government pressure.

He said they were freed because the police found no evidence of their involvement in militant activities.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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