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Radical cleric Sufi Mohammad resurfaces

world Updated: Jul 26, 2009 14:59 IST

IANS
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A radical Islamic cleric who brokered a peace deal with the Taliban in Pakistan and went missing during a military offensive has resurfaced in Peshawar city, media reports said on Sunday.

Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Mohammad was seen on Saturday for the first time since the military operation was launched April 26.

He was caught on camera by a TV channel, which showed him at a TNSM meeting in Peshawar.

Sufi had "trimmed and dyed his beard red to keep his identity a secret", a TNSM supporter told the Daily Times on Sunday.

TNSM will be deciding its future course of action at a Central Executive Committee (Shura) meeting to be held soon. This was decided Saturday at a Shura presided over by Sufi Mohammad, Dawn News reported on Sunday.

Sufi Mohammad had been residing in a rented house in Peshawar's Sethi Town area.

The army battled the militants after the Taliban reneged on a controversial peace deal with the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and instead moved south from their Swat headquarters and occupied Buner, just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations began in Lower Dir, the home district of Sufi Mohammad, who had brokered the peace deal and who is the father-in-law of Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah.

They later spread to Buner and Swat - and to South Waziristan.

The military operations have displaced 3.8 million civilians from the three districts of NWFP. The displaced civilians have now begun to return home.

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