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Former Guantanamo Inmate Returns Home to Pakistan - 2002-10-28

Officials in Pakistan say a Pakistani citizen captured in Afghanistan and held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has returned home.

The released prisoner is identified as Mohammad Sagheer. The 50-year-old Pakistani national was flown Sunday to Islamabad aboard a special aircraft. Pakistani authorities say Mr. Sagheer will be debriefed before being released to join his family in the northwestern town of Mansehra.

There are 57 Pakistani citizens among nearly 600 prisoners from more than 40 countries being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The United States captured the alleged militants during the anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan says most of its nationals detained at the U.S. prison facility in Cuba have no links with the al-Qaida terrorist network.

This was concluded after a high-level Pakistani delegation visited the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Aziz Ahmed Khan is a Foreign Ministry spokesman. "We gave our report to the United States government and discussed what our perception about the whole situation was. As a consequence of which, one innocent person has been released and we are hopeful that all other detainees, which in our view, are all innocent will be gradually released," Mr. Khan said.

Thousands of Pakistanis crossed into Afghanistan to join the Taleban and al-Qaida forces after they came under attack by the U.S. led anti-terrorism coalition last year.

Since then, Pakistan has become a key ally in the war against terrorism. The U.S. led forces are still using Pakistani facilities to track down Taleban and al-Qaida fighters.