Saeed's release: Pak files appeal

Saeed's release: Pak files appeal

Pakistani authorities on Friday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the release from house arrest of banned JuD chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, wanted by India in connection with the Mumbai attacks, saying they had evidence of his group’s links to terror outfits.

The appeal, filed in the apex court by the Home Department of Punjab province, challenged the Lahore High Court’s order of June 2 that freed Saeed and his close aide Col (Retd) Nazir Ahmed from house arrest.      The appeal noted that Saeed and Ahmed were originally detained in light of a UN Security Council resolution that declared the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) a terrorist organisation. It said the government has evidence that the JuD has links with terrorist groups.

The Punjab government sought the immediate detention of both Saeed and Ahmed as their freedom could create a law and order situation. The appeal also said they needed to be detained for their own “protection.” Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab province, said, “we hope the federal government will assist us with complete evidence against the JuD leaders.”

The federal government too would be filing a similar appeal “in a few days,” he said.
Unlike in the past, when evidence against Saeed and the JuD was presented in-camera in the court, the proof should be made public to strengthen the government’s position,    Sanaullah said. He said the Punjab government had prepared the appeal soon after the Lahore High Court’s decision to free Saeed, but had been awaiting the federal government’s nod to proceed in the matter.

Saeed, also the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba, was freed by the Lahore High Court after he spent nearly six months under house arrest. The court had said the Pakistan government did not produce any evidence to link him to Mumbai attacks. Saeed and several of his close aides were detained in the wake of last year’s Mumbai attacks after his organisation was declared a front for the LeT by the UN Security Council. They were all freed. India had expressed concern at the delay by Pakistani authorities in appealing against the release of Saeed.

On June 23, a special court in Mumbai issued warrants for the arrest of Saeed and 21 others for alleged involvement in planning and executing the Mumbai attacks.
The Punjab government’s appeal in the apex court against Saeed’s release came ahead of a meeting between Prime Ministers of the two country on the sidelines of the July 11-16 NAM summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

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