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Pakistan court reserves verdict in detention case of Hafiz Saeed

Lahore: Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and his four aides will have to spend some more time in jail as a Pakistani court today reserved its verdict in their detention case. A division bench headed by Justice Abdul Sami Khan reserved the decision after the Punjab government law officer submitted a reply and Saeed’s counsel Advocate AK Dogar completed his arguments.

According to the Punjab government’s reply, Saeed and his aides – Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain – were detained on the instruction of the federal government for their alleged involvement in activities prejudicial to peace and security of the country. The law officer also submitted the report of the judicial review board on the detention of Saeed and his close aides.

A K Dogar argued that the government did not produce the petitioners before the judicial review board prior to the expiry of their detention period on April 30 and extended their detention on its own. He said extending detention period without the mandatory approval of the review board is “illegal”.

Dogar further said the government detained the petitioners to “please India and America only”. He said the courts of the country in past had declared detention of the JuD chief illegal as the government failed to prove its charges against him. He prayed to the court to set aside the detention of the petitioners for being unconstitutional.

Earlier, the three-member review board headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan of the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict on the detention of Saeed. Saeed last month had appeared before the review board and told it that he had been detained by the Pakistani government in order to “stop him for raising voice for Kashmiris”.

The federal interior ministry rejected his arguments and told the board that “Saeed and his four aides have been detained for spreading terrorism in the name of Jihad”. On April 30, detention of Saeed and his four aides was extended by the Punjab government for another 90 days under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

The Punjab government on January 30 had put these five under house arrest in Lahore under the Second Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. The Nawaz government had reportedly taken action against Saeed after the US clearly told Islamabad that in the case of not taking action against JuD and Saeed it may face sanctions. JuD is believed to be the front for the banned Lashkar- e-Taiba (LeT). The organisation is accused of involvement in militant activities in India and has already been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation’ by the US in 2014.

PIT