Pakistan orders release of pro-Taliban terror chief

Pakistan has released a pro-Taliban leader who sent thousands of fighters against the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, officials said, in what appeared to be part of efforts to broker peace with Islamic militants. There was no immediate comment from the government on the freeing Monday of Sufi Muhammad, who is the father-in-law of the current terrorist leader in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Muhammad was jailed in 2002 and was shifted to a hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar five months ago because of poor health. Ajmal Khan, the deputy superintendent of Peshawar's main jail, said the government on Monday "issued an order for the release of Sufi Mohammad and I have conveyed this order to him." Shortly after, Muhammad left the hospital in a vehicle under police escort, accompanied by followers wearing black turbans, said Zafar Khan, a paramedic at the hospital.