Punjab govt to appeal against Saeed's release

Punjab govt to appeal against Saeed's release

Pakistan on Thursday said the government of its Punjab province will file an appeal against the Lahore High Court order releasing banned JuD chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who was placed under house arrest in December last year in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

"The Lahore High Court ordered the release of Saeed and the Punjab government is filing an appeal," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing here.

"Let's see how the legal process goes," he said, responding to a question on India's unhappiness over Saeed's release.

Official sources said the appeal against the Lahore High Court order would be filed by the Punjab government because Saeed was originally detained on orders of authorities in the province.

However, it is still not clear whether the appeal would be filed before a larger bench of the Lahore High Court or the Supreme Court, they said.

The Lahore High Court had accepted Saeed's petition challenging his detention and ordered his immediate release on Tuesday. The court had held the detention of the 59-year-old Saeed, also the founder of the Lashker-e-Toiba terror group, as illegal.

Saeed and numerous other top JuD leaders were detained in December last year after the UN Security Council designated his group as a front organisation for the banned LeT, blamed for the Mumbai terror strikes.

Basit said that Saeed was released due to a court decision. "We respect it and we do not like to interfere in the legal process," he said.

The legal procedure was followed in Saeed's case and the Lahore High Court had subsequently ordered his release, he pointed out.

India had expressed disappointment at Saeed's release, saying the move raised "serious doubts over Pakistan's sincerity in acting with determination against terrorist groups and individuals operating from its territory".

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