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Hafiz Saeed is in custody, says Pak PM

world Updated: Sep 22, 2009 20:32 IST
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JuD chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed, blamed by India for masterminding the Mumbai attacks, is "in custody" of Pakistani authorities, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced on Tuesday but did not make it clear whether he has been arrested.

Asked by reporters if Saeed had been arrested, Gilani replied: "The Interior Ministry can tell you the actual position but I believe he is in custody." "A decision on his case will be taken on the basis of laws and evidence (against him)," Gilani, who spoke in Urdu, said in his hometown of Multan.

Gilani also said Pakistan is conducting an investigation into the Mumbai incident "in an honest manner." "Action will be taken on the basis of evidence that we get and I want to assure you that Pakistan will not allow any terrorist to use its soil and no one will be given an opportunity to carry out terrorist activities directed against another country from Pakistan," he said.

Police in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore imposed restrictions on Saeed's movements on Sunday night. Though no formal written order has been issued to detain Saeed or restrict his movements, Lahore police chief Pervaiz Rathore yesterday told PTI that the JuD chief was "under house arrest."

Ahead of his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in New York on September 27, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said India would be interested to see how Pakistan proceeds with reference to the Mumbai terror attacks.

"He (Saeed) was the brain behind that attack on India. So I think we expect Pakistan to act swiftly," Krishna said in New York.

Foreign Secretaries of the two countries are also meeting on September 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Pakistan's action against Saeed came days after police in Faisalabad city registered two cases against him under the Anti-Terrorism Act for inciting people to wage 'jehad' and seeking funds for his banned group.

Observers have said that it is significant that Pakistani police have registered cases against Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. In the past, Saeed has been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law, which allows authorities to detain people for up to 90 days without any charges.

Saeed was put under house arrest under the MPO in December last year after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a terrorist organisation. He was freed on the orders of the Lahore High Court in June.