Hafiz Saeed a free man, appeals against fresh cases: Lawyer (Lead)

September 24th, 2009 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Lahore/New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Hafiz Saeed, who India holds to be mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, is not under house arrest and is a free man, his lawyer said Thursday, adding he had appealed against the two new cases filed against him by the Pakistan government.
“He is not under arrest. He is a free man and going about his work,” lawyer A.K. Dogar told Indian TV news channel CNN-IBN.

Dogar said he had also filed a petition Thursday in the Lahore High Court against the two first information reports (FIRs) that had been filed last week against Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group that India blames for the Nov 26-29,2008 Mumbai carnage that claimed the lives of over 170 people, including 26 foreigners.

“I have seen the FIRs. There is nothing in them,” Dogar maintained.

Police in Faisalabad, 100 km from the Pakistan capital Islamabad, last Thursday lodged the FIRs against Saeed for making a speech last month in which he called for a jihad and appealed for funds for the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), an Islamic charity front that the LeT had morphed into after being banned in the wake of the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

On Monday, it was reported that Saeed had been put under house arrest and that a posse of policemen had been deployed outside his residence, “restricting his movement”. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani confirmed that Saeed had been arrested, saying the evidence against him would decide what action needs to be taken.

“The interior ministry can tell you the actual position but I believe he is in custody. A decision on his case will be taken on the basis of evidence (against him),” Gilani told reporters in Multan.

Following the action against Saeed, it was announced Monday that Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in New York Sep 27 to review Pakistan’s action against the 26/11 terrorists.

Saeed had been placed under house arrest in December 2008 after the UN, acting under US and Indian pressure, had banned the JuD following the 26/11 Mumbai mayhem. However, the Lahore High Court freed him in June, citing lack of evidence. The Supreme Court has indefinitely put off hearing on an appeal against the release.

India had frozen the subcontinental peace process in the wake of the 26/11 attacks, saying this could resume only after Pakistan took tangible action against the perpetrators of the mayhem.

India has submitted six dossiers on the involvement of its citizens in the Mumbai attacks. Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman captured during the carnage, has admitted to being a Pakistani citizen and to have been trained by the LeT for the assault. Kasab is currently being tried in a Mumbai court.

In New Delhi, top officials said Pakistan was not willing to investigate against Saeed, even though sufficient and incriminating leads had been sent about his involvement in the Mumbai terror attack in the dossiers sent to Islamabad.

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