Just four days before the ninth anniversary of the attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, the mastermind of the terrorist attack, Hafiz Saeed is to be set free by a Pakistani court. Saeed was under house arrest after December 6. The Pakistan authorities had failed to submit any significant proof against him. “It is not shocker at all. Pak is formally designated the terrorist state. India should declare Pakistan an enemy country,” senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told Times Now.
A Judicial Review Board of Pakistan’s Punjab province today ordered the release of Hafiz Saeed. Saeed is the chief of banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD). Hafiz Saeed was under house arrest since January this year. The government made a plea to extend his detention for another three months, but the judicial board ordered Saeed’s release on Wednesday. The board said, “The government has been ordered to release JuD chief Hafiz Saeed if he is not wanted in any other case.” In October, the board had allowed a 30-day extension to the detention of Saeed which will expire next week.
The board’s order paves the way for Saeed’s release. 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.
Saeed’s four aides were set free in the last week of October. The US has offered a USD 10 million bounty for Saaed. 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.
Last month, the Punjab Judicial Review Board had extended by 30-days Saeed’s detention which was slated to 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. However, the last two extensions to his detention were made on the ‘public safety law’. The board refused to extend the detention of Saeed’s four aides. They were later set free in the last week of October.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Pakistani government told the judicial body that it might face sanctions from the international community, especially US, if it releases Hafiz Saeed from house arrest. On Tuesday itself, Pakistan’s Punjab government produced Saeed before the Judicial Review Board comprising judges of the Lahore High Court and sought a three-month extension in his detention. He also told the board that the Federal Finance Ministry has “some important evidence” against Saeed to justify his detention. He further informed that Saeed had been detained on the basis of intelligence agencies’ reports. However, as it turned out, all of this failed and order to release Hafiz was given on Wednesday.