On a day when police said they stopped a suicide-bombing mission by capturing three Pakistanis belonging to the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hindustan Times found that at least 60 Pakistani militants have been released over the last four years after serving sentences, or freed for lack of evidence.
It is not known if the three men were among the 60 released since 2004. They were deported to and accepted by Pakistan, a highly placed police source said.
This is particularly significant at a time when Pakistan is still refusing to accept that the lone survivor of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, is a Pakistani.
The militants were mostly released from Kot Bhalwal jail, 12 km north of Jammu. For five years, this jail was home to Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar, set free in 1999, in exchange for hostages on an Indian Airlines flight hijacked to Kandahar.
This year, on January 16, two militants — Zamir Ahmad alias Shindu, a resident of Chab Da Qila (Gujranwala, Pakistan), and Zafar Ali alias Abdul Rashid, of Showkat Lines (Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) — were deported.
Again on November 14, eight militants — Raza-ul-Haq (Gujranwala), Fehad Ullah Sheikh (Multan), Qasim Mehmood (Rahinyar Khan), Majid Khan (Hajipora), Khursheed Ahmad Mughal (Kelsari), Mohammad Ashraf (Mangi Chootagrana, Muzaffarabad), Faisal Abbasi (Leswa, Muzaffarabad) and Mohammad Farooq Mughal (Phalni, PoK) — were deported.
“The deportation followed the due process of law. Either the militants were set free after they had served their sentences or discharged due to lack of evidence,” the officer said.
Sources said there were reports that some of them had rejoined militancy, often joining the Lashkar-e-Tayebba (Army of the Pure) and Jaish-e-Mohammed.