Pak court frees alleged 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed

Hafiz mohammad saeed

A Pakistani court on Tuesday freed outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and his close aide Col (retired) Nazir Ahmed nearly six months after they were detained following the Mumbai terror attacks. A three-member bench of the Lahore High Court freed Saeed and Ahmed after hearing arguments by the JuD chief's counsel A K Dogar, who claimed the detention of the two men violated Pakistan's constitution and laws. The three-judge bench, hearing the case, said it will give a detailed order later.

Dogar, who addressed the bench for about 45 minutes, said the UN Security Council had only sought a freeze on the JuD's assets and a travel ban on its leaders and the world body had not demanded the arrest of JuD leaders. He claimed it was not binding under Pakistani laws to implement UN Security Council resolutions.

Saeed was put under house arrest on December 11 last year after the UN Security Council banned the Jamaat, declaring it a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed by India for November 26 Mumbai terror attacks that killed over 160 people. Saeed was not present in the court on Tuesday.

The Deputy Attorney General of the federal government and the Advocate General of Punjab province rebutted Dogar's arguments. The Advocate General said it was binding on Pakistan to implement Security Council resolutions as the country was a signatory to the UN Charter.

After hearing both sides, the bench issued a brief order for the release of Saeed and Ahmed. A detailed order is expected to be issued by the High Court later. JuD activists who gathered at the court began shouting slogans in support of Saeed on hearing the bench's verdict. A JuD spokesman hailed the court's verdict and said the organisation will continue its relief activities. The court's order was a "certificate" that the JuD was not involved in terrorism and the government had been unable to prove Saeed's involvement in such activities, the spokesman said.

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