Sufi Muhammad, two sons arrested

Radical cleric Sufi Muhammad, who brokered a controversial peace deal in Pakistan's Swat valley, was on Thursday arrested along with his two sons and five leaders of his banned organisation, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi.

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

However, there was no official confirmation of the arrests. Reports said the arrested persons were taken to an undisclosed location. The reports also suggested that Sufi Muhammad was arrested because of his close links with Taliban fighters in the Malakand division.

Most of the persons were arrested from the TNSM's headquarters at Amandarra in Malakand division, where the military is conducting operations against the Taliban.

Meanwhile, seven al-Qaeda commanders, who had carried out attacks in Iraq, have entered Pakistan to carry out strikes to target top leaders such as President Asif Ali Zardari and provincial chief ministers.

Intelligence agencies have circulated a communiqué to major provinces and cities, stating that a meeting of senior al-Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban representatives was held in Paktia province of Afghanistan on May 3, an unnamed source told Daily Times newspaper.

The operatives of the two groups decided at the meeting to carry out terrorist strikes across Pakistan.

Pakistani security forces on Thursday arrested 12 militants, including nine foreigners, and seized a large quantity of weapons during a sweep in the restive Mohmand tribal region.

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