Don’t take any action against Hafiz Saeed, Lahore High Court tells Pakistan govt

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday restrained the Pakistan government from arresting JuD chief and 26/11 terror attack mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, a day after he moved the court seeking protection from arrest.

The court order comes ahead of the United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee’s Islamabad visit tomorrow. A monitoring team of the sanctions committee on Thursday will assess whether the Pakistan government complied with the sanctions imposed by the body on Saeed and JuD.

Saeed, in his plea, alleged that the Pakistan administration wants to arrest him amid sustained pressure from the US and India to act against him.

Justice Amin Aminuddin Khan, who heard Saeed’s plea, directed the government from taking any “adverse action” against him.

“The LHC today accepted JuD chief Hafiz Saeed’s application and issued order restraining the federal government from arresting him till further orders,” a court official confirmed to PTI.

Saeed’s counsel, advocate AK Dogar, informed the court that the Punjab government detained his client for 10 months under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance, but a judicial review board had rejected its application for extending his house arrest last November after it failed to justify his detention.

Saeed is the founder/chairman of JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and he had set up 142 schools and three universities and was engaged in public welfare for a long time, Dogar said.

Last week, the US State Department said the Trump administration had conveyed its concern to Pakistan on Saeed and called for his prosecution “to the fullest extent of the law”. It also said that Saeed’s name was on the UN list of designated terrorists.

Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The UNSC sanctions list includes the names of JuD, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, FIF and other groups and individuals.

The UNSC monitoring committee oversees the sanctions measures imposed by the Security Council under the rules. The member states are required to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.

Last week, Pakistan banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the FIF and other organisations on the UNSC sanctions list.

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.