Pakistan fears Hafiz Saeed's release might invite international sanctions
Lahore, Nov 21: Pakistan might face sanctions from the international community if it released Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed from house arrest, the government told a judicial body.
Pakistan's Punjab government today produced Saeed before the Judicial Review Board comprising judges of the Lahore High Court and sought a three-month extension in his detention. An official of Punjab Home Department submitted before the review board that release of Saeed could lead to imposition of international sanctions on Pakistan.
"We plead the board not to order release of Saeed as Pakistan may face international sanctions," he requested. He also told the board that the Federal Finance Ministry has "some important evidence" against Saeed to justify his detention. He further informed that Saeed had been detained on the basis of intelligence agencies' reports. Strict security arrangements were taken at the LHC premises during Saeed's appearance before the board. A good number of JuD workers also gathered on the court's premises in support of their leader. They shouted slogans in favour of Saeed and demanded his immediate release.
The board headed by Justice Abdul Sami Khan issued a notice to the federal finance ministry directing it to send its official to submit relevant record about Saeed. Last month the Punjab Judicial Review Board had allowed 30-day extension to the detention of Saeed which will expire by the last week of this month. On January 31, Saeed and his four aides - Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain - were detained by the Punjab government for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997. However the last two extensions were made on the 'public safety law'.
The board, however, refused to give further extension to the detention of Saeeds four aides. They were later set free in the last week of October. Under the law, the government can detain a person for up to three months under different charges but for extension to that detention it needs approval from a judicial review board. Separately, Saeed has filed a petition against his detention in the LHC.
The court will hold hearing in this case tomorrow. The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack. The US has offered a USD 10 million bounty for Saaed for his alleged role in the Mumbai attack.