LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has been placed under house arrest for three months, the interior ministry announced on Monday.

Lahore police authorities told Dawn that the JuD chief’s Johar Town residence would be declared a sub-jail for Saeed and four other members of the organisation.

A handout issued by the ministry of interior said Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Lahore), Abdullah Ubaid (Faisalabad), Zafar Iqbal (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke), Abdul Rehman Abid (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke) and Qazi Kashif Niazi of Multan, who handles JuD’s publications, have been taken into protective custody.

The JuD and the Falah-i-Insaaniat Founda­tion (FIF), a charity organisation affiliated with the JuD, have been included in the second schedule and will be placed on the government’s watch list for six months under Section (1) 11EEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

A large police contingent surrounded the JuD headquarters at Chauburji Chowk on Monday where Saeed was holding a consultative meeting with party leaders.

Four JuD leaders also in ‘protective custody’

Hafiz Khalid, JuD’s political affairs secretary, said the names of several JuD leaders had also been placed on the Exit Control List on Monday.

Iftikhar A. Khan adds from Islamabad: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan confirmed that the government was in the process of deciding the JuD’s fate. “The situation will become clear by [Tuesday],” he said, adding that JuD had been on the watch-list for several years.

The organisation was also listed under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267, which is known as the Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee. He said certain actions were to be taken by the state after its enlistment, which had not been taken, adding that the government was now moving to meet those obligations.

The United Nations Security Council had placed sanctions against the JuD, declaring it a terrorist organisation in December 2008. The US State Department in June 2014 had termed the JuD a “foreign terrorist organisation”, a status that freezes any assets it has under the US jurisdiction.

New Delhi blames Saeed for the Mumbai attacks, but Pakistan argues that India has failed to provide incriminating evidence against him.

A JuD spokesman says they would not resist police action and would prefer to fight their case in court.

The JuD chief remained under house arrest for months during the Musharraf regime in 2002 after an attack on the Indian parliament and once again after the Mumbai attacks in 2008. The Lahore High Court had ordered his release in June 2009 after the government had failed to establish a case against him.

Hours before he was detained on Monday, Saeed had held a briefing for journalists and columnists on the Kashmir issue.

Responding to a query about a possible ban on the JuD, he said that he would move court instead of setting up an alternative party.

The JuD chief had also announced plans to hold a march on Islamabad to pressure the government to review the Simla agreement at a joint session of the parliament and declare unambiguous policy on Kashmir.

He urged the government to review the Simla agreement which, he said, had been signed under duress giving India an edge in the Kashmir dispute.

Published in Dawn January 31st, 2017