QUETTA: The Taliban militants have set free three doctors kidnapped in Balochistan's Killa Saifullah district more than three months back, family sources said on Saturday.

Armed gunmen had picked up three doctors and two paramedics from Killa Saifullah district on June 12 this year.

Obaidullah Jan Babat, brother of one of the released doctors and member of Balochistan Assembly from Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), told Dawn.com that all three doctors have been released by their captors.

There was no claim on the part of Taliban for kidnapping the doctors. However, one of the family members of the kidnapped doctors, who requested not to be named, told Dawn.com that Taliban from the tribal belt had kidnapped the doctors.

Similarly, a security official also mutely told Dawn.com that Taliban were behind the kidnapping.

The doctors spent more than three months in captivity in Pakistan's volatile tribal belt. “They have been set free in Bannu,” said Babat said.

He, however, preferred not to confirm or reject that how much ransom was paid to the kidnappers. “The doctors have physically and mentally suffered a lot.” He said arrangements were being made to shift the released doctors to their native town Loralai.

Family members, relatives and members of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) had staged protest demonstrations in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan to mount pressure on the government to ensure a safe recovery of the doctors. PMA members had also observed strikes at hospitals in Loralai to record their protest against the kidnapping.

Doctors in Quetta had also observed a three-hour strike in government run-hospitals to protest against the kidnapping of senior doctor Manaf Tareen.

Unidentified gunmen picked up Dr Tareen from Pishin Stop, one of the high security zones of Quetta four days ago. All OPDs remained closed for three hours in civil hospital, Bolan Medical Complex and other government-run hospitals on the call of PMA.

“We will continue our protest until the recovery of Dr Manaf Tareen,’ Dr Sultan Tareen, the PMA President told a press conference in Quetta. He said the government was completely failed to protect the lives of doctors. “Doctor's kidnapping from such a sensitive area is indeed a slap on the face of security apparatus,” he said.

Meanwhile, Quetta Police Chief Mir Zubair Mehmood claimed that three kidnappers were arrested in a successful police action from different parts of the city. He said ransom amount was recovered from the accused and senior police officers were interrogating the kidnappers.

Incidents of kidnapping for ransom were constant rise in Balochistan in general and Quetta city in particular. Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, during a recently held Balochistan assembly session, revealed that 78 gangs involved in kidnapping for ransom were operating in the violence-hit city.

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