LAHORE, May 14: Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his four aides have been detained for “spreading terrorism in the name of jihad”, Pakistan’s interior ministry has told a judicial review board. Saeed appeared before the board on Saturday and informed it that he had been detained by the Pakistani government in order to stop him for raising voice for Kashmiris. However, the interior ministry rejected his arguments and told the three-member board that Saeed and his four aides have been detained for “spreading terrorism in the name of jihad”.
The board comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan of the Supreme Court (head), Justice Ayesha A Malik of Lahore High Court and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail of Balochistan High Court directed the ministry to submit a complete record regarding detention of Saeed and his aides – Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid, Abdullah Ubaid and Qazi Kashif Niaz on next hearing on May 15.
The board also sought personal appearance of the attorney general of Pakistan on next hearing. Police produced Saeed and his four aides before the board at Lahore registry of the apex court amid high security. A large number of Saeed’s supporters gathered outside the court. Saeed’s counsel advocate A K Dogar was also present but the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chose to plead his case before the court.
“The allegations levelled by the government against me had never been proved by any state institution. My organisation and I have been victimised for raising voice for freedom of Kashmir and criticising the government’s weak policy on the Kashmir issue,” Saeed said. He said that he had been placed under house in order to stop him for raising voice for Kashmiri people.
Saeed appealed to the board to set aside the Punjab government’s detention order. “The government detained the JuD leaders on pressure of United Nations and international organisations,” an official representing the federal interior ministry told the board.
Last Thursday Lahore High Court division bench had questioned as why Saeed and others were not presented before a review board before the government issued notification for extension to his detention for another 90 days. On April 30, detention of Saeed and his four aides was extended by the Punjab government for another 90 days under preventative detention under 11 EEE (I) and 11D of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
The Punjab government on January 30 had put these five under house arrest in Lahore for their involvement in activities which can be prejudicial to peace and security. The government has also placed JuD and FIF under second schedule of the anti-terrorism act.
The Nawaz government had reportedly taken action against Saeed after the US clearly told Islamabad that in case of not taking action against JuD and Saeed it may face sanctions. JuD is said to be the front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The organisation has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation’ by the US in June 2014.
Saeed and his aides said in their petition that the government detained them without any legal justification. They said the UN resolution followed by the government did not seek detention of any citizen. “The detention of the JuD leaders is a simple case of mala fide intention and ulterior motive on part of the government as it has been done so to please India and the United States,” the petition said.(TIE)