ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: The government on Monday placed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and his four aides under detention [house arrest] for their activities to ‘harm peace and security’.
The action came after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the government was taking steps to fulfil its international obligations regarding JuD.
The groups – the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and JuD –have been placed on the watch list and put on the second schedule under Section 11-EEE(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, the interior ministry said in an order.
Hafiz Saeed and his aides have been detained for three months. Saeed was detained at his residence, 116-E, in Johar Town.
Sources in the police told The Express Tribune that they took Hafiz Saeed into custody from Markaz Al-Qadsia, the headquarters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and took him to his residence at Johar Town after declaring it a sub-jail, adding the rest were detained in Muridke (two) and one each in Faisalabad and Multan.
A handout issued by the Punjab government said: “In the light of Section 11-EEE(1) of the ATA, the Punjab government has taken organisational office-bearers of the aforementioned organisations playing an active role including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Lahore), Abdullah Ubaid (Faisalabad), Zafar Iqbal (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke), Abdul Rehman Abid (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke) and Kashif Niazi of Multan into protective custody.”
The interior ministry in its order stated that the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa had been taking steps causing harm to peace and security, and involved in activities that violate UNSC Resolution 1267.
Under Section 11-EEE(1) of the ATA, the federal government, after putting a proscribed person in the fourth schedule, can detain him for a period of 12 months by extending this period from time to time.
The superintendent of police (civil lines division) conveyed the detention orders to Hafiz Saeed and put him under detention. A heavy contingent of police was also present at the headquarters of the JuD.
Later, activists of Jamaatud Dawa held a protest demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club and demanded the release of their leader. Chanting slogans against the government, they accused it of toeing the policies of the US to detain him.
They blocked the road for vehicular traffic and said they would start a protest demonstration if Hafiz Saeed and other FIF and JuD leaders were not released.
Meanwhile, Hafiz Saeed said that his detention orders had come from Washington and not from Islamabad.
“The struggle being waged by the JuD and Kashmiris is the same,” the JuD chief told a press conference before his arrest.
He said his arrest would spark a new vigour in the Kashmir liberation movement, urging Pakistanis to stand for the Kashmir cause. The JuD chief also vowed to observer February 5 as the Kashmir solidarity day “with full force”.
Earlier, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan hinted at taking steps against Jamaatud Dawa (JuD). “The organisation has been under observation since 2010-11. Since it has also been listed by the UN Security Council [Sanctions Committee], we are bound to take some steps and we are taking those steps to fulfil our obligations,” the minister said while talking to the media after inaugurating a passport office in Islamabad.
Talking about recent disappearances of some bloggers, the minister said the incumbent government was strongly opposed to the idea of enforced disappearances.
“In no way does this government own this policy,” the minister said, adding all bloggers had reached their homes now.
Nisar said he had sent police officers to the home of Salman Haider after he returned from his three-week disappearance to enquire after him. The minister said that Haider’s family has refused to lodge a complaint or give a statement to the police.
About the Dawn leaks inquiry, he said the interior ministry would receive the inquiry report in a few days and would submit it to the government.
Commenting on US President Donald Trump’s recent order to ban citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the US, the minister said such a step would only benefit terrorists.
“This step will not harm terrorists, but will only affect those who are afflicted with terrorism,” Nisar said while stressing international unity against terrorism.
“Muslims have suffered the most from terrorism but [unfortunately they] have also received most of the blame for terror. More than a billion Muslims cannot be blamed for the actions of a few who have negated the teaching of Islam,” Nisar said, emphasising the need for not linking terrorism with any religion.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2017.