Hafiz Saeed to be freed if no evidence submitted: Pak court
Lahore: A Pakistan court has warned that it would end the house arrest of terrorist leader Hafiz Saeed, blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, if the government doesn't submit evidence against him.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and his four aides were placed under house arrest in January under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) heard the appeal against Saeed's detention on Tuesday. However, the Interior Secretary who was expected to bring the documents related to Saeed's detention failed to appear before the court, the Pakistan media reported.
Expressing annoyance over the Interior Secretary's absence, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi said: "No one could be detained for a long time merely on the basis of newspaper clippings."
He said it was the obligation of the government to protect the basic rights of people.
Justice Naqvi observed that "courts should be locked" if matters were to be decided unilaterally by the Ministry. He said no one was ready to cooperate with the courts and the law officers also apparently wanted to shut them.
He again summoned the Interior Secretary to appear before the LHC on October 13.
Saeed's advocate A.K. Dogar said the JuD leaders had been detained merely on the basis of allegations, without any substantial evidence against them, and the extension of the detention was illegal and a violation of basic rights.
Requesting the court to declare the detention null and void, he contended that the JuD chief and other leaders had been detained because of pressure from the US government.
In previous proceedings, the Punjab home department stated in a report submitted in connection with the petition filed by the JuD chief against his detention that if he was released, his activities would pose a serious threat to public safety and public order.
Saeed is accused by India of masterminding the Mumbai terror attack of November 2008 which left 166 Indians and foreigners dead. New Delhi has repeatedly urged Islamabad to punish him for the massacre.