Authorites had earlier detained Hafiz Saeed under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA)
by Mubashir Zaidi
Pakistani authorities on Sunday withdrew terrorism charges against Hafiz Saeed and his group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), paving way for the possible release of the UN, US and Indian designated terrorist for his involvement in 2008 Mumbai attacks.
A Punjab government official told a review board of Supreme Court on Saturday that the provincial government did not include charges of terrorism in the new order for Hafiz Saeed and his aides.
Authorities had earlier detained Saeed under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
Saeed’s lawyer A.K. Dogar had urged the court to order the release of Saeed and his four aides since they are no longer under ATA. The Lahore High Court is expected to decide his application in the coming week after Jusice Muzahir Naqvi asked the government to file charges against Saeed. He had warned the government earlier this week that Saeed would be freed unless evidence was presented against the JuD leader.
Offer to Provide Evidence
Earlier on Friday, the government offered to provide all evidence against Saeed and the JuD privately to a High Court judge in his chambers, and urged the court to not grant any relief to Saeed, saying it was a highly sensitive matter.
Saeed and JuD were already banned by the UN while U.S. has put $10 million bounty on his arrest.
Saeed was arrested in a crackdown in January this year and put under house arrest. His lawyer A.K. Dogar told the court on Friday that the Punjab government had once again extended Hafiz Saeed’s detention for three months.
Saeed challenged his detention in the Lahore High Court alleging that his arrest was due to U.S. pressure and that he had never been charged for any crime.
No formal charges have been filed against Saeed so far by Pakistani authorities.