The house arrest of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has been extended by another month by authorities in Pakistan’s Punjab province, who said his activities pose a threat to peace and tranquillity in the country.
Saeed, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, has been under house arrest since January 31.
The Punjab home department issued an order on Tuesday extending the house arrest of Saeed and his four aides – Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain – for 30 days with effect from September 25. The previous order to extend his house arrest was issued on July 28.
On January 31, Saeed and the four others were put under house arrest by the Punjab government for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
In its latest order, the Punjab home department said that the “Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Falah-e-Insaniat have planned to spread chaos in the country on their expected release. They have planned to make demonstrations under the leadership of Saeed. He will be portrayed as hero and his acts will be glorified.”
The notification said that Abdul Rehman Makki, who is the central leader of the JuD, had been making preparations for his release.
“Transport is being arranged, arms are also being collected for show of force and for use, if need to be, against the personnel of law enforcement agencies. Funds are also being used collected for the purpose. The liberty of Saeed is a continuous threat to the peace and tranquillity. Further recommendation for his detention is in the interest of peace and order.”
The notification further said the District Intelligence Committee of Lahore separately said: “There is apprehension that Saeed shall create law and order situation upon release.”
Additional home secretary Mar R Azam Suleman said that the activities of Saeed were “prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order”.
Meanwhile, Saeed filed a fresh application on Wednesday in the Lahore High Court against the latest order extending his detention.
Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi turned down a request by the home department for holding in-camera hearing of the petition as the matter was sensitive. The judge adjourned the hearing till October 2.
The JuD leader’s counsel AK Dogar had contended the government detained the petitioners on the basis of mere apprehension. He said imprisonment without trial and conviction was prima facie unlawful and unconstitutional.
An official of the home department presented the latest detention order before the court. He told the court that the activities of JuD leaders, if released, would pose a serious threat to public safety and cause breach of public order.
He said a number of cases had been registered against Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), a sister organisatison of the JuD, while the detainees launched a campaign for their political party, which was not yet registered with the Election Commission.
He said all the law enforcement agencies strongly recommended that the detention of the JuD leader should be extended in the larger public interest.
JuD is believed to be a front for the banned Lashkar- e-Taiba (LeT) which carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The organisation is accused of involvement in militant activities in India and was declared a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in 2014.
The US has offered a $10 million bounty for Saaed for his alleged role in the Mumbai attacks.