US bounty on JuD men: last chance for ministry to file reply

Updated December 24, 2014

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JuD chief Hafiz Saeed.— AP/File
JuD chief Hafiz Saeed.— AP/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday gave the last opportunity to the Foreign Affairs Ministry to submit its reply on a petition challenging US act of announcing bounty on Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and his deputy, Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki.

As the court resumed hearing, a deputy attorney general stated the ministry had sought details of the matter from the US State Department and their response was awaited.

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He said the ministry would be able to submit a reply after getting the required details from the US. The law officer sought more time to come up with the ministry’s reply.

Justice Masood Abid Naqvi adjourned hearing till Feb 26, 2015, directing the law officer to ensure submission of the reply on the next date.

Previously the ministry had told the court that US announcement of bounty on the petitioners (Hafiz Saeed and Makki) was not a binding for Pakistan.

The petition was pending adjudication since 2012 when US Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman stated during his visit to New Delhi that the both JuD leaders carried $10 million and $3 million head money, respectively.

The petitioners, through their counsel, submitted the JuD was a charitable organisation and had no nexus with any banned outfit. The counsel argued that the US acted on the instigation of India and announcing head money during India visit spoke for itself.

He said Pakistani superior courts had already exonerated Hafiz Saeed from all charges leveled against him by India and the US.

He said the announcement of bounty was liable to be withdrawn and the petitioners needed to be protected being citizens of Pakistan. He also asked the court to direct the government to protect the petitioners and make arrangements for their security.

Appeal dismissed: A Lahore High Court division bench on Tuesday dismissed an appeal of a murder convict challenging his death penalty.

Convict Mumtaz through his counsel pleaded the trial court of Sargodha awarded him death sentence on charges of killing Muhammad Ashraf. He said the court conducted an unfair trial and handed down the sentence.

A deputy prosecutor opposed the petition and told the bench that the trial court awarded the punishment in the light of case evidence. He said all witnesses testified against the convict.

After hearing both sides, the bench headed by Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi dismissed the petition and upheld the death penalty.

Bail: Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik of the Lahore High Court on Monday released suspect Charan Das, Hindu by religion, on bail in a fraud case.

The judge directed the suspect to furnish bail bonds of Rs100,000.

Bail pleas dismissed: A Lahore High Court division bench on Tuesday dismissed bail petitions of 10 Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers in a case of killing a policeman and resorting to violence.

The workers through their counsel pleaded they were implicated in the case on political grounds. The counsel said police victimised PAT workers at the behest of the Punjab government for taking out ‘peaceful’ protests against the rulers. He asked the court to release political workers on bail.

A deputy prosecutor general, however, stated the workers/petitioners were involved in the killing a policeman and terrorism activities. He said they also damaged public properties and torched police vehicles. He argued that PAT workers took law into their hands and opened fire at a police party.

He said the workers did not deserve the concession of bail in the light of the gravity of their offence.

The bench dismissed the petitions and directed the petitioners to approach the trial court for the relief.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2014