The Punjab government would “act according to the law” if Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the head of Jamaatud Dawa (JD) alleged by the United States to be a terrorist, applied to it for security.
The Punjab government said this in reply to a petition moved by Saeed and his deputy Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki in the Lahore High Court seeking protection against the US, which recently announced bounties worth $10 million (Rs908.20 million) and $3 million (Rs272.46 million), respectively, on their heads.
The federal government is yet to reply to the petition. On Monday, LHC Chief Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed told Deputy Attorney General Naseem Kashmiri to ensure that the reply is filed at the next hearing on May 21.
Advocate AK Dogar, representing the petitioners, said that Jamaatud Dawa was a charity organisation and had nothing to do with Lashkar-i-Taiba, the group said to be behind the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008.
He said that the LHC and the Supreme Court had already acquitted Saeed of charges of having links with terrorist organisations. He said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had stated that there was no evidence that the petitioners had links to terrorists, while the Foreign Office had made clear to the US that there was no concrete evidence. The prime minister, addressing a joint sitting of parliament, had stated that this was an internal Pakistani matter.
Dogar said that the US had violated international law and attacked Pakistan’s sovereignty. He said that the US announcement of a bounty on his head was illegal.
He asked the court to direct the government to ask the US to withdraw the bounty; to direct the government to provide protection to the petitioners; and to declare any action against the petitioners by the government or its agencies illegal.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2012.