Butcher of Mumbai Hafiz Saeed set free by Pakistan

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New Delhi: The mastermind of deadly Mumbai 26/11 attack, Hafiz Saeed, has been set free by the Lahore High Court due to lack of incriminating evidence against the Islamist extremist operating from Pakistan.

His release though will put the Pakistani Government under the spotlight since the USA could speed up the implementation of Western sanctions against Pakistan for failing to try Hafiz Saeed as a terrorist implicated in various attacks such as the 26/11 or the Pathankot attack of 2014. The Court has also rejected extention of his house arrest plea put forth by the Panjab PRovince Government.

Strict security arrangements were taken at the LHC premises during Saeed’s appearance before the board. A good number of JuD workers also gathered on the court’s premises in support of their leader. They shouted slogans in favour of Saeed and demanded his immediate release.

The board headed by Justice Abdul Sami Khan issued a notice to the federal finance ministry directing it to send its officers to submit relevant record about Saeed.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack. The US has offered a USD 10 million bounties for Saeed for his alleged role in the Mumbai attack.

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Last month the Punjab Judicial Review Board had allowed the 30-day extension to the detention of Saeed which will expire by the last week of this month.

On January 31, Saeed and his four aides – Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain- were detained by the Punjab government for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997.
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However, the last two extensions were made on the ‘public safety law’. The board, however, refused to give further extension to the detention of Saeed’s four aides. They were later set free in the last week of October.

Under the law, the government can detain a person for up to three months under different charges but for an extension to that detention, it needs approval from a judicial review board. Separately, Saeed has filed a petition against his detention in the LHC. The court will hold a hearing in this case tomorrow.


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