Succumbing to global pressure over the release of banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, allegedly linked to the 26/11 attacks, Pakistani authorities today said they would appeal against a court's order to free him from detention.
"Yes we will move the court either on Thursday or Friday against the Lahore High Court's decision to free Hafiz Saeed and his aide Col (retired) Nazir Ahmed," Rana Sanuallah, Law Minister of Punjab province, told PTI.
"Though it was a court decision, it really landed us in hot water as it provided India a chance to unleash propaganda against Pakistan," he said.
Saeed and various other top JuD leaders were detained in December last year after the UN Security Council designated his group as a front for the banned LeT, blamed for the Mumbai terror strikes.
A senior official said the government was placed in a Catch 22 situation over the High Court's order to free Saeed. "The court had made it clear that the government should either present declassified evidence against Saeed or it was going to free him owing to lack of evidence against him," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"The government was not in a position to share the secret information with the court," he added.
During the hearing of Saeed's petition challenging his detention, Pakistan's Attorney General Latif Khosa told the High Court that the government had evidence which showed the JuD's "prima facie links" with Al Qaida. This was the first time that Pakistan acknowledged that JuD has links with Al Qaida.
The High Court's verdict issued on Tuesday said the government "has no sufficient grounds to detain the petitioners for preventive measures".
The court also said the government could not rely on the UN Security Council resolution imposing restrictions on the JuD to detain Saeed and Ahmed as this was "not desired" by the resolution.
The bench quashed the "impugned detention orders" for Saeed and Ahmed and ordered that they should be "released forthwith if not required in any other case".
India has protested against the release of Saeed, saying it raised questions about Pakistan's desire to tackle terrorism emanating from its soil.