Pakistan Government May File Fresh Charges to Keep Hafiz Saeed in Custody

"The review board of the Lahore High Court asked the Punjab government to produce evidence against Hafiz Saeed for keeping him detained but the government failed", Saeed's lawyer AK Dogar said.

He further said that Saeed has been held "without any legality", and hence, a violation of the constitution and his fundamental human rights.

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai massacre, is all set to walk free after about 10 months of house arrest.

On Wednesday, the Judicial Review Board of Pakistan's Punjab province ordered Saeed's release in the reported absence of any evidence from the Pakistan government to back its charge that Saeed was a threat to security. In May 2008, the United States department of the treasury designated Saeed as a specially designated global terrorist under Executive Order 13224, the spokesperson said. Saeed's organisation Jamat- ud -Dawah was also eventually declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in June 2014.

Mumbai had witnessed multiple terror attacks on November 26 in 2008 which had resulted in 166 deaths injuring several others.

At his regular media briefing here, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "It appears to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists".

It is also reflective of Islamabad's "duplicity" in tackling terrorism, they said and asked Pakistan to "walk the talk" on its assurances to the global community over dismantling terror infrastructure and not allowing its soil to be used for terror acts.

Saeed and his four aides - Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal Shahbaz, Abdur Rehman and Qazi Kashif Hussain - had been under house arrest since January under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

"The government is ordered to release JuD chief Hafiz Saeed if he is not wanted in any other case", PTI quoted the board as saying.

Through a video message, the chief of Pakistan's banned terrorist outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), thanked the judges for his freedom.

On Wednesday (November 22), exactly four days before the ninth anniversary of the deadly terror attacks, the Lahore High Court in Pakistan chose to set free Saeed. An official said that the activities of JuD are "already under scanner and action in regard was taken many times in the past but this time we will do so again".

  • Rogelio Becker