Hafiz Saeed pleads for defence lawyer in US court | world | Hindustan Times
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Hafiz Saeed pleads for defence lawyer in US court

world Updated: Jan 20, 2011 21:02 IST

Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed on Thursday submitted a fresh application in a Pakistani court asking the judge to direct the government to defend him in a US lawsuit filed by relatives of victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Saeed, who has been linked to the banned Lashker-e-Taiba terror outfit, had earlier filed an application in the court of justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh of the Lahore high court but sought permission from the judge on Monday to place the matter before chief justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

"On the direction of Justice Sheikh, we filed the application in the chief justice's court today," A K Dogar, the counsel for Saeed, told PTI.

Dogar said he expected the application to be taken up by the court in the next few days.

Saeed had contended that he wanted the application to be taken up by chief justice Chaudhry as the latter had heard similar cases involving the JuD chief in the past.

Chaudhry, who was recently appointed chief justice of the Lahore high court, headed a division bench that freed Saeed from house arrest on June 2, 2009.

Saeed had then been detained by Pakistani authorities after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a front for the banned Lashker-e-Taiba.

Chaudhry has also ruled in favour of several petitions filed by pro-Islamist organisations and groups.

In a controversial ruling last year, he briefly banned Facebook after some groups objected to pages on the social networking website that featured blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.

In his application, Saeed asked the court to direct the federal government to appoint a counsel to defend him in the lawsuit filed in a Brooklyn court by relatives of two Jewish victims of the 2008 attacks.

Saeed claimed he had the right to seek aid from the government as it had decided to defend the officials of the powerful spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence named in the lawsuit.

The Pakistan government has already skirted the issue of defending Saeed in the US lawsuit, with the Foreign Office spokesman saying authorities would only protect the interests of officials named in the case.

Pakistan's decision to defend ISI officials does not apply to "non-officials", the spokesman said last week.

Even as he seeks legal aid from the government for the US lawsuit, Saeed has said he refuses to accept the jurisdiction of the American court that has issued summon's to him and ISI officials.

Saeed submitted his objection to the summons to the US court through his counsel Dogar. Dogar said Saeed did not recognise the jurisdiction of any US court and was filing the reply to protest the "unwarranted and illegal" summons.

He claimed neither international nor American law allowed the US court to extend its jurisdiction to another country. "We cannot expect justice from any American court, even if it had jurisdiction," he said.

Dogar repeated Saeed's claim that he had nothing to do with the banned Lashker-e-Taiba and that the JuD was a "charitable organisation".