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JuD chief Saeed set free by Lahore High Court

JuD chief Saeed set free by Lahore High Court

Author: PTI
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: June 2, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/180322/JuD-chief-Saeed-set-free-by-Lahore-High-Court.html

In a setback to the 26/11 probe, banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed who has been under house arrest for nearly six months for his suspected role in the Mumbai terror attacks, was on Tuesday set free by the Lahore High Court which held his detention as illegal.

A close aide of 59-year-old Saeed, Col (retd) Nazir Mohammad, also held in connection with the November 26 attacks in Mumbai, was freed alongwith Saeed.

In a brief order, a three-member bench of the High Court said, "the court accepts the petition of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Col (retd) Nazir Ahmed against their detention, which is illegal. The court orders their immediate release." A detailed order will be pronounced later.

JuD activists, who gathered at the court, began shouting slogans in support of Saeed following the order. A JuD spokesman hailed the verdict and said the organisation will continue its "relief activities".

Saeed was put under house arrest on December 11 last year after the UN Security Council banned JUD, declaring it a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed by India for the Mumbai attacks that left 160 people dead.

JuD chief's counsel A K Dogar contended that there was no evidence of Saeed's involvement and that his detention violated Pakistan's constitution and laws.

Saeed vowed to continue his struggle against what he described as the "India occupation" of J and K.

Denying any involvement of JuD in the Mumbai attacks, Saeed told a press conference held at a mosque in his hometown that his detention was a "conspiracy" against Pakistan.

The JuD chief claimed that the Indian government had not been able to provide any evidence to back its contention that the JuD was linked to the Mumbai strikes.

Saeed's house was declared a sub-jail during his detention. "We will provide security to Saeed if we are asked by our high-ups," SSP (Operations) Shafiq Ahmed told PTI.

Dogar, who shouted slogans like 'Allah-o-Akbar' (God is great) along with Saeed's supporters after emerging from the court, said the JuD chief had been detained on December 11 last year without any valid grounds or reasons.

He asked why the Pakistan government had implemented the UN Security Council's resolution against the JuD when India had not acted on resolutions on the Kashmir issue.

The Deputy Attorney General of the federal government and the Advocate General of Punjab province rebutted Dogar's arguments.

The Advocate General said it was binding on Pakistan to implement Security Council resolutions as the country was a signatory to the UN Charter.

During an earlier hearing of Saeed's petition, Pakistan had for the first time admitted that JuD had links with al-Qaeda. "Under the Pakistan Constitution, a detenu has to be given grounds for his arrest within 15 days. If it is not done, the detention
is malicious and void," Dogar contended.

After the court verdict, an official of the Prison Department said that "we will withdraw our personnel (from JuD chief's house in Johar Town of Lahore) after receiving the order for Saeed's release."

Saeed and several other JuD leaders were placed under house arrest in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks but most of them were subsequently freed. A judicial review board of the Lahore High Court had recently extended the detention of Saeed, also the founder of the Lashker-e-Taiba, and Ahmed by two months till July 8.

Five LeT activists, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, are currently being tried by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi for alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

India has handed over three sets of dossiers on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and also responded to the clarifications sought by Islamabad.

In the dossier handed over in January this year, New Delhi had given the statement of Mohammed Ajmal Iman Kasab, the lone arrested terrorist in 26/11 attack, in which he described the role of the JuD Chief.

The latest dossier was handed over by New Delhi on May 20 which includes certified copy of the DNA report and statement of Kasab before the court.

Saeed has been named in the chargesheet filed by Mumbai police in connection with the 26/11 probe.

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