LHC orders release of Hafiz Saeed

October 18, 2006


LAHORE, Oct 17: The Lahore High Court on Monday ordered the release of Jamaatud Daawa Pakistan chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. Hafiz Saeed was detained on Aug 28 by the Punjab government under section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO).

Justice Mohammad Shabbir Akhtar declared the detention illegal because it did not support the reasons which the Punjab government submitted to the court on Monday, 48 days after he was arrested for the second time.

The religious leader was detained for 60 days and kept at the Canal Rest House in Sheikhupura.

The court announced the release of the Daawa chief in a short order after both sides concluded their arguments.

The LHC had earlier declared the detention of Hafiz Saeed as illegal and had ordered his release on Aug 28, but police arrested him soon after he reached home.

The petition for the release was filed by his wife Mainoona Saeed.

The court observed that the detention order appeared to have been prepared out of reasons alien to the national expediency and Hafiz Saeed was arrested and his movement restricted under foreign pressure.

The court also asked the Punjab government whether the reason for the detention would lose ground after 60 days.

Additional Advocate-General Mohammad Hanif Khatana submitted that the detention had nothing to do with foreign pressure. Yet, the government was obliged to save Pakistan’s relations with other countries from damage.

He said that there were certain ‘sensitive’ reasons which the government could divulge to the court alone. However, the court declined to accept the offer.

The provincial government’s law officer stated that Hafiz Saeed’s movement was restricted as a preventive measure and the government would think again after 60 days if the movement of the Jamaatud Daawa chief was to be restricted for a longer period.

Advocate Nazir Ahmad Ghazi, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that India and no other country in the region, including China, Iran and Afghanistan, had any problem with Jamaatud Daawa nor its leadership.

He submitted that even President Gen Pervez Musharraf had praised the Jamaatud Daawa for its social services, particularly during the devastating earthquake last year. The foreign office was on record saying that Hafiz Saeed and his party was not involved in any subversive and terrorist activities.

In the evening, Hafiz Saeed’s lawyer told journalists that he was not released on Monday as the prison authorities had not received his production order.