JuD chief Hafiz Saeed released from house arrest

Saturday, 25 Nov, 2017

Saeed's release was expected to see Washington mount increasing pressure on Pakistan for its alleged support for militant groups, including the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now his arrest and trial have become more dubious than ever, since on Friday he was freed by Pakistan after less than a year under house arrest.

Punjab province's Judicial Review Board comprising judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday unanimously ordered Saeed's release on the completion of his 30-day house arrest which expired last night.

It was in January 2017, Hafiz Saeed was arrested in Pakistan and was kept under house arrest. "This is a great step for freedom for Pakistan".

Saeed founded the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba in the 1990s and when it was banned, Jamaat-ud-Dawa was revived in 2002. "Instead this act was staged by the Indian intelligence service so India could afterwards tighten its anti-terror laws".

"I was detained due to pressure from India". He is also quoted as saying, "There can not be any peace while India remains intact". The MEA further said that Saeed's release once again confirms "the lack of seriousness on the part of Pakistani government in bringing to justice perpetrators of heinous acts of terrorism, including by individuals and entities designated by the United Nations".

Analyst and retired general Talat Masood told AFP that Saeed is given special treatment by the government "because they think that his organization was supportive in Kashmir", the disputed Himalayan territory over which India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars.

Pakistan has been detaining and freeing Saeed off and on since the attack and he and four of his aides were put under house arrest in Lahore in January.

In his declaration, he vowed that "I am fighting for Kashmir's independence".

"It astounds me that we keep giving Pakistan money - military and foreign aid - and they're a haven for terror groups from the Taliban to LeT. The US did so on the request of India", he added.

India and the United States expressed concern at his release, calling for Saeed to be prosecuted over the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including Americans. "It's because of Kashmir that India is after me, but all her efforts have been in vain and Allah has set me free", he said in the video released by his party's media team.

In previous proceedings, the Punjab Home Department argued that that if Saeed was freed, his activities would pose a serious threat to public safety and public order. Pakistan's Punjab government however had sought a three-month extension in his detention saying that the country may face global sanctions if the JuD was released from house arrest.