Pakistani court dismisses fresh cases against 26/11 accused Hafiz Saeed

October 12th, 2009 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Lahore, Oct 12 (IANS) Citing a bureaucratic lapse, the Lahore High Court Monday dismissed two cases filed under the anti-terrorism act against Hafiz Saeed who India says masterminded the 26/11 Mumbai carnage.
“I argued in court that the Punjab (provincial) government had not proscribed the JuD (Jamaat-ud Dawa that Saeed heads) even though the UN had done so. The court accepted my contention,” Saeed’s lawyer A.K. Dogar told reporters after the court delivered its verdict.

Dogar had last month appealed against the two fresh cases filed against Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group that India blames for the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai carnage that claimed the lives of over 170 people, including 26 foreigners.

The LeT had morphed into the JuD after it was banned in the wake of the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that New Delhi blamed on the terror group.

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 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.

On Sep 17, police in Faisalabad, 100 km from the Pakistan capital Islamabad, had lodged two first information reports (FIRs) against Saeed for making a speech in August in which he called for a jihad and appealed for funds for the JuD.

On Sep 21, 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”. The next day, 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.

However, in a startling volte face Sep 24, Pakistan admitted that Saeed had not been arrested, saying this would “take time”.

“When the leads culminate in some evidence that he is a criminal, I will not waste a moment. He will be arrested. But it will take time,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told NDTV news channel in an interview.

“We have to follow our law. As we are respecting the investigation and the courts of India, I request you to request our courts. Wait for some time. The court process has started. We mean business. Whatever we have committed on all forums, we mean business,” Malik added.

India has submitted six dossiers on the involvement of its citizens, including Saeed, 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.

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