Mumbai attack mastermind and banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest on Thursday was extended for another 30 days by a Judicial Review Board of Pakistan’s Punjab province. However, the board refused to allow the same in the detention of his four aides.
The 30-day detention will be applicable from October 24. Saeed’s aides – Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain – may walk out free on the expiry of their September 25 detention order if they are not detained in any other case.
Saeed and his four aides were presented before the provincial judicial review board on Thursday amid high security in the Lahore High Court. A good number of his supporters were present at the court’s premises who showered rose petals on him and his aides. Police, however, stopped them from chanting slogans in the favour of their leader.
The three member Punjab Judicial Review Board comprising Justice Yawar Ali (head), Justice Abdul Sami and Justice Alia Neelam held the hearing. A court official told PTI after the hearing that the Home Department of Punjab government had sought three months extension to the detention of Saeed and others under public safety law. “The judicial board after listening to the arguments of the government’s law officer did not entertain his request and only granted 30-day extension to Saeed’s house arrest in Lahore,” he said.
The board also could not be convinced about keeping Saeed’s four aides in detention beyond the expiry of September 25 detention order for a month and dismissed the government’s plea for further extension to their detention, he said. The government may arrest Saeed’s four aides in any other case on expiry of their detention period in last week of this month, the official added.
Under the law, the government can detain a person for up to 90 days under different charges but for an extension to that detention it needs approval from a judicial review board.
Last Saturday the Punjab Home Department had withdrawn its request from federal judicial review board to seek extension to detention of Saeed and others under “Anti-Terrorism Act”. According to the Home Department, the government did not require extension of Saeed and his four accomplices under the Anti-Terrorism Act any more.
Explaining as 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 the last week of this month under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 it does not require to have their house arrest extended under the anti-terror 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 $10 million announced by the US for his role in terror activities.