Confusion surrounded efforts by Pakistani authorities to challenge a court order freeing Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed from detention, with the Foreign Office saying no appeal had been filed so far.
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit on Friday said no appeal has been filed by the government to challenge the Lahore High Court’s order of June 2 that freed Saeed from house arrest.
Asked by PTI if an appeal had been filed, Basit replied: “Not yet.”
Earlier in the day, officials of the Punjab government had said the appeal had been filed in the Supreme Court’s registry in Lahore. Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab province, said notice had been issued to Saeed as part of the process of filing the appeal.
“Technically, the appeal has been filed,” Sanaullah said.
Saeed, who is wanted by India for alleged involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, and his close aide Col (retired) Nazir Ahmed were freed by the Lahore High Court after being under house arrest for nearly six months. They were detained in the wake of the Mumbai incident.
A K Dogar, the counsel for Saeed, also said he had received the notice from the Punjab government’s advocate on record, Rao M Yusuf Khan.
The document submitted by the home department of Punjab in the apex court’s registry noted that Saeed and Ahmed were originally detained in light of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that declared the 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 document also said they needed to be detained for their own “protection”.
Rana Sanaullah said, “We hope the federal government will assist us with complete evidence against the JuD leaders.” He said the federal government, too, would be filing a similar appeal “in a few days”.
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.
Saeed, also the founder of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba, was detained after his organisation was declared a front for the LeT by the UNSC.
India had expressed concern at the delay by Pakistani authorities in appealing against the release of Saeed.