Terrorism Act against Hafiz Saeed withdrawn

Terrorism Act against Hafiz Saeed withdrawn

LAHORE: The Punjab government on Saturday withdrew its request for extending the detention of banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and four others under the anti-terrorism law.

However, the JuD chief and his four aides will remain under house arrest under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) 1960.

An official of Punjab government told a three-member federal judicial review board headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan of the Supreme Court that the government did not require the extension of Saeed and his four accomplices’ detention anymore under the anti-terrorism law.

“The provincial government does not require the extension to the detention of Saeed, his aides, Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain, under the anti-terrorism law. Therefore it requests the board to accept the withdrawal of extension to the detention of Jamaatud Dawa leaders,” he said. The board accepted the government’s plea and disposed of the matter.

Explaining as to why the government withdrew its application, a senior official of the Punjab government told a foreign agency that since the government has extended the detention of Saeed and four others till October 24 under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 it does not require to have them house arrested under the anti-terrorism law.

He said the government was to produce Saeed and others before the review board for their detention under 11 EEE (I) and 11D of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

“But since all five of them are detained under the public order there was no binding on the government to produce them before the review board today to seek the extension in their detention period,” the official said.

The Punjab government issued an order extending the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed and four other for another 30 days with effect from September 25 under the public order. The previous detention order issued on July 28 was expired on September 25. The last two extensions were made on the ‘public order’.

On January 31, Saeed and his four aides were detained by the Punjab government for 90 days under preventative detention under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. They have been under house arrest since then.

Saeed has been accused by the United States and India of masterminding the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people. He, however, has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The JuD has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in June 2014 and the JuD chief carries a reward of $10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities.