Pakistan’s Punjab government on Tuesday sought the extension of detention of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed under public safety law, two days after withdrawing its application to prolong his house arrest under the anti-terrorism law. Saeed, the Jamat-ud-Dawah chief who has been under house arrest since January, was presented before a three-member provincial judicial review board amid high security.
The Punjab Judicial Review Board comprising Justice Yawar Ali, Justice Abdul Sami and Justice Alia Neelam heard arguments of a law officer of the Punjab Home Department for the extension of detention of Saeed and his four close aides -Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain.
Their detention period is scheduled to expire on October 24. Under the law, the government can detain a person for up to three months under different charges. The government can extend the detention only after the approval from the judicial review board.
Lahore police had made strict security measures around the Lahore High Court building where Saeed and others were presented before the board. The board, after hearing the law officer, issued notices to Advocate General Punjab and foreign and interior secretaries to appear before it on October 19 to tell as to why the government wants extension to Saeed’s house arrest.
On last Saturday, the Punjab Home Department had withdrawn its request from federal board to seek the extension to detention of Saeed and others under “anti-terrorism act”.
Explaining as to why the government withdrew its application seeking extension to detention of Saeed and others, the Punjab government said since it has extended the detention of Saeed and four others for October 24 under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960, it does not require to have their house arrest extended under the anti-terrorism law.
On January 31, Saeed and four others were detained by the Punjab government for 90 days under preventative detention under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. However, the last two extensions were made on the ‘public safety law’.
The Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) has already been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in June 2014. The JuD chief carries a reward of USD 10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities.