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Pakistan court asks authorities to respond to Hafiz Saeed’s petition challenging detention

A Pakistani court has asked authorities to respond by March 7 to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s petition challenging his detention and listing under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

world Updated: Feb 22, 2017 21:33 IST
Hafiz Saeed,Lahore high court,house arrest
Members of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) hold an effigy of Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Asif as they shout slogans against him during a protest after JuD leader Hafiz Saeed was placed under house arrest in Lahore on February 21, 2017. (AFP)

A Pakistani court on Wednesday asked authorities to respond by March 7 to a petition filed by Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and four others challenging their detention and listing under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

A division bench of the Lahore high court issued notice to the home department of Punjab province after taking up the petition filed by Saeed and his aides, who were put under house arrest on January 30. The court also asked authorities to provide material justify the detention of the five men.

Saeed, who heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, and his aides Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdur Rehman Abid, Kashif Hussain and Abdullah Ubaid approached the high court on Tuesday to challenge their detention and listing under the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which imposes further restrictions on their movements and activities.

The JuD has also challenged the interior ministry’s decision to include Saeed and 37 others on the Exit Control List, a move that has barred them from travelling out of Pakistan.

The next hearing of the case was scheduled for March 7.

Defence minister Khawaja Asif has said that action had been taken against Saeed as he posed a threat to the country. Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the detentions were part of the government efforts to fulfill its international obligations United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The Punjab government, while ordering the detentions, said the JuD and the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation had been put on a “watch list” because of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council’s al-Qaeda and Islamic State committee.

The federal interior ministry has said the JuD and FIF are involved in activities “prejudicial to peace and security”.

Saeed has denied the charges against him and distanced himself from the LeT. In his petition,

Saeed was put under house arrest soon after the Mumbai attacks but was released on court orders in June 2009. In his petition, Saeed and his aides said: “The government has proved that the Pakistan is a servile and a dependent nation.”

The petitioners said the government had used the same UN Security Council resolution to detain Saeed in the past but the Lahore high court had set him free.

“The government has no evidence that we are a risk to (the) security of Pakistan and merely on the basis of the UNSC resolutions, our liberty cannot be curtailed,” the petition said.

Saeed was also put under house arrest after the 2008 Mumbai attacks but was freed by the court within six months.

First Published: Feb 22, 2017 16:15 IST