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Foolish expectations

Foolish expectations

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: August 6, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/193989/Foolish-expectations.html

Pakistan won't punish Hafiz Saeed

In what can be best described as yet another ploy by the Pakistani authorities to ensure that Hafiz Mohammad Saeed - chief of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa'h, the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba - remains a free man, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has indefinitely adjourned the hearing of petitions challenging his release by the Lahore High Court in June. The move comes in light of the resignation of the Advocate-General of Punjab Province - one of the two petitioners in the case - who was forced to hand in his papers following the Supreme Court verdict declaring the appointments made by former Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void. Gen Musharraf had reduced the minimum age for the appointment of Pakistani judges from 45 to 40 years. Since that now stands overturned, the Punjab Province Advocate-General, who is 42, would not qualify to be a High Court judge, which is a pre-requisite for the post he holds. In view of this, the Punjab Province Government sought time from the Pakistani Supreme Court to appoint a new Advocate-General. It was then that the court adjourned the hearing indefinitely. This is nothing but legal trickery and goes to show how serious Pakistan is about bringing to justice the mastermind behind the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. That Hafiz Saeed doesn't have to stand trial just because one of the prosecuting advocates appealing against his release had to resign is absolutely ludicrous. Had there been the will, the Advocate-General could have been suitably replaced and the case continued.

This is not the first time that Pakistan has tried to bury Saeed's case under legal technicalities. In fact, every time that Saeed has been arrested by the Pakistani authorities, he has been subsequently let off due to one legal loophole or another. Case in point, Saeed was last put under house arrest in December last year after the United Nations Security Council proscribed the Jamaat-ud-Dawa'h as a front for the already banned Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. But he was released last June by the Lahore High Court on the specious plea that the UN resolution did not specifically ask for Saeed's detention. Similarly, the process of appeal against the High Court order has been mired in unnecessary confusion. On July 16, the Pakistani Supreme Court adjourned the case for two weeks following a request by Pakistan's Federal Government that it needed time to produce fresh evidence against Saeed. Then the Punjab Province Government threatened to withdraw from the case saying that Islamabad wasn't co-operating with it in the matter. All this is indicative of the Pakistani establishment's connivance to keep Saeed a free man despite overwhelming evidence against him, including that provided by India.

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