Sufi Muhammad arrested along with his deputy and two sons

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Peshawar, June 5 (ANI): Pakistani security forces have arrested Sufi Muhammad, chief of the banned outfit Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), along with three of his aides from Amandara in Lower Dir district on Thursday, sources said.

The group's leaders said that Sufi Muhammad, his sons Rizwanullah and Ziaullah, TNSM deputy chief Maulana Muhammad Alam, spokesman Amir Izzat Khan and central council member Maulana Syed Wahab were among those who had been arrested by law enforcement agencies.

Pakistan's Government gave no confirmation of Sufi Muhammad's arrest, but the army said his deputy, Mohammad Alam, and his spokesman, Ameer Izzat, had been arrested.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Information Minister, said that the aides were "holed up in the compound of a seminary when they were arrested along with a few militants."

Cleric Mohammad Wahab and three Afghan fighters were also arrested, Major-General Athar Abbas, the military's chief spokesman, said.

"The army raided the seminary on an intelligence tip-off that a meeting of terrorists was in progress there," Major General Athar Abbas said.

Sufi Muhammad struck a deal with the NWFP Government in February to restore peace in Swat and surrounding areas by proposing to put three million people under Islamic law.

But the deal collapsed in May when Taliban fighters advanced to districts within 100km of Islamabad more than six weeks ago. (ANI)

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