Pakistan admits holding 700 militant suspects without trial
Pakistan has for the first time admitted that it is holding about 700 suspected militants without trial.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir said the prisoners were in internment centres in the tribal belt near the Afghan border. He said a "war-like situation" existed in the area and they would remain in custody while operations continued.
The admission came during a Supreme Court hearing about seven suspects who were freed from jail in 2010 but later seized by intelligence agents.
Analysts say the case of the men - known as the Adiala Seven - is a challenge to the assumption that Pakistan's feared ISI intelligence agency can operate independently of the law. The men appeared in court last year, in very poor health, when the ISI was forced to produce them. Four other suspects detained with them died in custody.
It is unclear how long the hundreds of militant suspects Mr Qadir referred to have been held and he gave no time frame for their release. He added only that the authorities would decide if they could be put on trial.
Posted by: tipper 2013-01-24