Hafiz Saeed’s release questions Pakistan’s sincerity: Pakistani media

June 4th, 2009 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 4 (IANS) The release of 26/11 Mumbai mayhem mastermind Hafiz Saeed “raises many questions” about Pakistan’s sincerity in eliminating jehadi groups operating in this country, an editorial in a leading English daily said Thursday, while another termed it “a clash between politics and the requirements of justice”.
“The release of Hafiz Saeed raises many questions about the sincerity and efficacy of the state in quashing jihadi networks that operate on its soil,” the influential Dawn said in an editorial.

“It may have been a full bench of the Lahore High Court that ordered Saeed’s release, but the fact is the court was left with little option given the prosecution’s reliance on weak grounds for the extension of the preventive detention of Saeed while he possibly awaits trial on charges related to the Mumbai attacks last November,” it added.

Citing lack of evidence, the Lahore High Court Tuesday ordered terror gorup Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Saeed’s release from house arrest. This was in spite of Pakistani government lawyers saying they had presented evidence linking Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD) that the LeT had morphed into after being banned in 2001 to Al Qaeda.

India says Saeed had masterminded the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that claimed the lives of over 170 people, including 26 foreigners.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman captured during the 26/11 mayhem, has confessed to being a Pakistani national and to being trained by the LeT for the Mumbai carnage.

In this context, Dawn noted that “at the very least”, Saeed’s release “sends a bad sign that the government here is perhaps not up to the task of prosecuting them even if evidence is adduced. The Pakistan government must urgently explain what it plans to do next, or else risk losing another opportunity for peace now that the elections have concluded in India”.

At the heart of the issue, Dawn maintained, “is really the question of whether Pakistan’s legal framework is adequate for dealing with men such as Saeed who are the ideological leaders and figureheads of groups which may be engaged in terrorist activities either abroad or on Pakistani soil”.

Did Pakistan have the laws that can put such people out of business while acknowledging the difficulty of tracing any particular crime to a group’s top leadership, the editorial asked and provided the answer: “It appears not.”

Dawn also noted that the issue was bigger than just Hafiz Saeed and the Mumbai attacks - it extended to militant leaders like Maulana Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud too.

“Imagine a scenario in which Fazlullah or Mehsud are captured by the state and are held for trial: Is it beyond the realm of possibility that they too may be set free on technicalities because the laws of the land are inadequate to deal with such leaders?” Dawn wondered.

According to Daily Times, Saeed’s release had thrown up the “clash between politics and requirements of justice. At another, it is also a kind of clash between international law and municipal law”.

This was because Saeed had been arrested after the UN passed a resolution in the wake of the Mumbai attacks banning the JuD but “if a nation wants to abide by the resolution, it has to fulfil the requirements of justice under its own law too”, Daily Times maintained.

“It is (a) moot (point) whether the state even intended to go through with the process without endangering the government, but the bare fact is that international political repercussions will be negative,” the editorial contended.

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