Pakistan unlikely to defend Hafiz Saeed in 26/11 US lawsuit

Islamabad, Jan 14(ANI): Pakistan has dodged the issue of defending Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in a US lawsuit, which has issued him summons in connection with the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, saying it would only protect the interests of ISI officials who had been named in the case.

DG ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, his predecessor Lt Gen (r) Nadeem Taj, Major Ali and Major Iqbal are among the Pakistani officials named in the summons list, while JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and his operational commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi have also been summoned before a Brooklyn court in a case filed by an injured US citizen and the heirs of four others, who were killed in the terror strike on November 26, 2008.

Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit told a weekly briefing that Pakistan's decision to defend ISI officials in the lawsuit in the court does not apply to 'non-officials'.

"Pakistan will defend its officials. So, here we are talking about officials. As far as defending non-officials is concerned, I would not be in a position to answer your question," The Nation quoted Basit, as saying.

It is noteworthy that Saeed had moved the Lahore High Court seeking direction for the Pakistan Government to defend him, along with ISI chiefs and others before the US court in this lawsuit.

Petitioner's counsel AK Dogar had stated that Saeed was the head of the Jamaatud Dawa, which was a charity organisation and had no links with the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT).

Noting that on December 31, the Pakistan Government had announced to defend ISI head Lt Gen Pasha, he maintained that Saeed was also a Pakistani, and had the same rights as any other citizen of the country.

The lawsuits, which seek unspecified damages, were filed under the Alien Tort Statute, an 18th century law that allows US citizens to sue in US courts for acts that violate international law. (ANI)

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