PESHAWAR, 15 January: Maulana Sufi Muhammad, chief of the banned Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) was released from the Peshawar Central Prison amid tight security here on Monday after nine years of imprisonment.

The Peshawar High Court, last week, accepted his bail application on medical grounds and ordered his release.

Maulana Sufi Muhammad was arrested by police in July 2009 on charges of spreading hatred against the government and hatching conspiracy against the state.

A number of cases were registered against Sufi Muhammad including hatching conspiracy against the state, attack on government installations and inciting public to violence against the then rulers, however, he was acquitted in majority of the cases due to lack of proofs.

The Peshawar High Court accepted his bail application in two other cases pertaining to hate speech against the government and masterminding attack on a police station.

The TNSM chief had prayed the court to release him as his health was deteriorating with each passing day.

Maulana Sufi Muhammad was handed over to his relatives by police officers after all official procedures were completed. He was shifted to an undisclosed location by his relatives after his release.

Mualana Sufi Muhammad is the father-in-law of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Fazlullah.