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Pakistan frees Bhutto attack suspect

world Updated: Jun 16, 2008 20:40 IST
PTI
Pakistan

Pakistan has released a prominent Al-Qaeda-linked militant allegedly involved in the bombing at former premier Benazir Bhutto's homecoming rally in Karachi which killed 139 people.

Qari Saifullah Akhtar, who was arrested in February 26 near Lahore in connection with a deadly double suicide attack in Karachi on October 18 that struck a rally to mark Bhutto's homecoming from eight years in exile, was released last week, officials said.

Akhtar was accused by Bhutto in her book 'Reconciliation: Islam Democracy and West' for plotting an attack against her.
Head of outlawed Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami, the main Pakistan support group for Afghanistan's extremist Taliban movement, Akhtar is also linked to al-qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

On March 26 he was freed by a anti-terrorism court in Karachi but re-arrested minutes later and detained for 30 days.
Akhtar had fought along with Mujahideens during Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 80s and also trained jihadi fighters who were sent to Jammu and Kashmir in 90s.

He was arrested in the UAE in August 2004 and handed over to Pakistani authorities. However, he was released in mysterious circumstances last year.