SC backs release of alleged Mumbai attack mastermind

Published: May 25, 2010
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Pakistani police escort Hafiz Saeed (C-in white cap), the head of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa as he leaves after a hearing in Lahore. (AFP)

Pakistani police escort Hafiz Saeed (C-in white cap), the head of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa as he leaves after a hearing in Lahore. (AFP)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the freedom of a militant leader who was accused of masterminding the Mumbai attacks, dismissing government appeals against his release from house arrest.

Pakistan’s central government and Punjab government had challenged the release of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group, by a high court last year.

The three member bench was headed by Justice Nasir ul Mulk and comprised of Justice Jawad S Khwaja and Justice Rehmant Hussain. The court observed that the government had failed to present any proof against Hafiz Saeed and that he could not be held on the bases of speculations.

“The prosecution has failed to prove its case,” defence lawyer A K Dogar said.

“We cannot usurp the right of freedom of a person on mere assumption,” Dogar quoted a short order from the court as saying.

These appeals were filed by the federal government and the punjab governement against the release of Hafiz Saeed. Hafiz Saeed was arrested in December 2008 after the mumbai attacks and was released by the lahore high court in June 2009. Saeed and three of his charity co-leaders were placed under house arrest and their offices were shut after the UN Security Council blacklisted the organisation as a terror group.

The United States also sees the charity as a terror group and a front for LeT, and Pakistan is under huge Western pressure to round up Dawa members.

The group’s founder, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and key operative Zarar Shah are currently on trial in Pakistan.

Dawa, which is one of Pakistan’s biggest charities and known across the country for its relief work after the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, has long denied all terror accusations and welcomed Tuesday’s ruling.

“Finally, truth has prevailed,” charity spokesman Yahya Mujahid told AFP by telephone.

“The world should realise now that Jamat-ud Dawa is a non-terrorist organisation,” he said.

Saeed reportedly abandoned LeT when it was outlawed in Pakistan after India accused the group of being behind a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament which pushed the nuclear rivals to the brink of war.

The group, whose name means “army of the pious,” was established in 1989 to fight Indian rule in Kashmir and has past links to both Pakistani intelligence services and Al-Qaeda.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Anas F Butt
    May 25, 2010 - 4:48PM

    and the same court will ban facebook. wahRecommend

  • Nina
    May 25, 2010 - 5:37PM

    It is good to see the impartiality of the supreme court at work. Let’s pray that our enemies do not control our supreme court as they already have control of our politicians.Recommend

  • AZMAT KHAN
    May 25, 2010 - 5:56PM

    ANAS F BUT, YOU NEED NOT WORRY. SOON ALL THE I.T. WILL BE COMING THROUGH
    THESE CLERICS.NOTHING LIKE FACEBOOK WILL BE NEEDED.Recommend

  • faraz
    May 25, 2010 - 6:29PM

    With 20,000 militants under his control, only a judge on a kamikaze mission would give a verdict against him. Few days ago, there was news that Taliban are threatening him; lets hope TTP kills him and then LeT pits itself against TTP. Recommend

  • May 25, 2010 - 7:39PM

    Let me be absolutely clear – I have no sympathies for characters like Hafiz Saeed who have eroded the Pakistani society and have pushed us in a state of profound crisis.

    Let me be very clear that we should cleanse our society of parasites like Hafiz Saeed – but we must do it for the right reason. We should NOT, and I repeat, NOT do this because India wants us to. Or because India has reportedly provided prima-facie evidence of his involvement in November 26th attacks on Mumbai.

    Many progressive Pakistanis feel that elements like Hafiz Saeed should be tolerated because they keep India in check. Pakistan has 500,000 plus strong army – we don’t need to bank on the imbeciles like Hafiz Saeed.

    Winning the hearts and minds of educated Pakistanis is a major milestone for the retrogressive forces whose success means decline of Pakistan’s cultural steam and human decency. Undoubtedly, India is a belligerent regional hegemony and we must protect Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and dignity. But these wayward charecters who have managed to drown the voices of reason and rationality are rapidly destroying our country. With Petro dollars supported tribal and Wahabi influence Pakistan’s social structures and behavior patterns have become so rigid that this country can no longer adapt to changing situations, it is unable to carry on the creative process of cultural evolution.

    I am very concerned about Pakistan’s outlook because there is an eerie uniformity of opinion. Even those who are tolerant, progressive, democratic are willing to condone fundamentalists. Whereas growing civilizations display endless variety and versatility, those in the process of disintegration show uniformity and lack of inventiveness.

    Unless Pakistan’s progressive and democratic forces are willing to take on the retrogressive elements we will concede our right to opinion, education and way of life that is unacceptable to charecters like Hafiz Saeed.

    Fundamentalists will prohibit freedom of expression and use all coercive apparatus to crush opposition. Education will be discouraged and whatever little is allowed, will be subverted by distortion of curricula. You can argue what is new- it has always been the case? It is the intensity that will change. We are not talking about FATA or the tribal areas. This monster is already in cosmopolitan cities like Karachi and Lahore.

    My argument here should not be construed as anti-Islam. I want to simply point out that religious conviction and religious doctrine have contradictory effects. Some people are motivated by their religious beliefs to challenge oppressive social systems and oppressive relations in the world. At the same time, organized religion and much of religious doctrine is used to reinforce the oppression of the masses of people, to preach submission before the established authorities and their oppressive rule. In Pakistan, rulers have used religion to oppress masses- and we must not empower these charecters to oppress us any further. As Lenin said, every reactionary order is in need of two functions, the hangman and the priest, and they go hand in hand and complement each other.

    So unless you are ready to lock-up your sisters and daughters and throw away reason and rationality, you must fight back. Without an iota of doubt these monsters will destroy Pakistan to the point where you will not be able to recognize this country. It is not enough that Jamaat-e-Islami does not win votes- their ideology has hijacked our judiciary, legislators – our entire nation. Unless you clean up your offices, your neighborhoods, and your educational institutions from these tyrannical imbeciles, Pakistan will not survive.

    Stay on high alert! Don’t let proponents of past take over your beautiful cities like Karachi, Lahore and IslamabadRecommend

  • Mukhtar
    May 25, 2010 - 8:20PM

    Mr. Ibrahim Sajid Malick. Have you ever been in Jamat-ad-dawa ? numbers of work for the humanity.
    Here are a few facts on Jamaat-u-Dawa the now-banned “terrorist outfit”.

    the Jamat-ud-Dawa runs:

    | 143 Dispensaries
    | 6 Hospitals [with one being under construction in Karachi]
    | 66 Ambulances
    | 130 water supply units like wells, handpumps
    | 173 Educational Institutes [only 29 of which are Medressahs], which include 3 Science Colleges, with an enrollment of 20,000 and a net staff of 987 teachers

    | Refugee Rehabilitation Programme covering 800 families [that makes about 5,000 people]
    | Qurbani Programme which distributed free meat to about 2.5 million impoverished households in 2006 alone

    | Earth Quake Reaction Force which managed to rescue 183 people from under debris in 2005, also retracted 450+ dead bodies. They treated 43,000+ injured in 17 medical camps and 97 mobile medical units. Later, it built 5,000 houses.

    20,000 students in one school. 33 thousand non muslims are getting food, education and house hold articles from this JUD.

    If no need more for your SICK DESIRE to understand Hafiz Muhammad Saeed again he is much better then you.Recommend

  • Nusrat Ali
    May 25, 2010 - 9:35PM

    From Mr. Malick’s comments about Islam and Pakistan it looks to me that he is unaware of the true idiology of Islam and Pakistan and his use of the word “charecters” makes me sick.

    Hafiz Saeed is true Follower of the Muhammad (SAW) and true Pakistan.
    There are several Hospital and dispensaries working under Hafiz Saeed and they are saving human lives. and who can forget the role Jamat Dawa played in earth quake scenario. I have witnessed my self there work at the time of disasters like flood and earth quakes.

    Mr. Malick you should study Islam first before commenting on any person who is working for Islam.

    May Allah Guide us all to the right path AAMEENRecommend

  • Ayesha
    May 25, 2010 - 10:06PM

    Mr Malick do you have a stronger more credible proof against Hafiz Saeed then what was presented in the supreme court? on what exactly are you basing this character assassination of Hafiz Saeed when the supreme court of your own country has said there is no proof against him. It’s people like you who jump to conclusions without a sound basis or even doing a little bit of research. All the charitable work done by Jamat ud Dawa is commendable. And personally ive studied their literature on jihad and it is nothing like the media or i should say “indian and western” media makes it out to be. There is no inciting of hatred in it nor a call for suicide bombing. It just explains that jihad can only take place if the state orders a war against an enemy and explicitly states that no one person or group can go around killing people in the name of jihad. Recommend

  • faraz
    May 25, 2010 - 10:29PM

    Nobody is talking about his charity work; certainly he did a great job in helping earth quake victims. But what about those thousands of kids belonging to poor families who were recruited by JuD/LeT and were later ruthlessly expolited in fruitless proxy wars. A main reason behind earth quake charity was to fish for orphans to be used as cannon fodder.

    Take this Ajmal Kasab, his fault is his poverty which lead him into the hands of such exploitive religious groups. I really feel sorry for this poor guy, he is just 22, and now is a cruel murderer! He should have been in some college, chatting on the internet like you guys. And Hafiz saeed who was just a university professor is now one of the most powerful men in Pakistan.

    Our generals were busy in their housing societies while thousands of young men were being killed in Kashmir. Our agencies boasted of trapping 500,000 Indian troops in Kashmir without the army firing a single bullet. You call this Jihad? Has it ever happened in history that the national army is sitting in the barracks and teenagers are engaging the enemy. Only difference between TTP and LeT is that the yound kid recruited by LeT gets killed outside Pakistan.

    I personally know a member of LeT. He charges around Rs. 75,000 for getting plots vacated from land grabbers. And these land grabbers also belong to LeT; ask any person related to real estate in Lahore. Recommend

  • Muriam Butt
    May 25, 2010 - 11:03PM

    @ Mr.Ibraheem..its very strange to know that a pakistani aur muslim can think in this way……. just study the idiology of Islam n Pakistan….Recommend

  • Syed Mohammad Saleem
    May 25, 2010 - 11:37PM

    I commend Mr. Ibrahim Sajid Malick for having the courage to write against fundamentalists, ISI backed terrorist who is damaging the image of Pakistan. Hafiz Saeed is an internationaly recognized criminal. He is ISLAM’s enemy.

    After the United Nations Security Council declared him terrorist the State Bank of Pakistan directed all banks to freeze the bank accounts of the Jamaat and the four Let leaders, including Saeed, who were declared terrorists subject to sanctions. The others who face action are Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Haji Mohammed Ashraf and Mohammed Ahmed Bahziq.
    Saeed was placed under house arrest for three months in his residence in Johar Town area of the eastern city of Lahore but even when was under house arrest he was moving around with ISI people.

    I know this for a fact that we (Pakistan) had told the UNSC that we will ban JuD in Pakistan if the world body passed a resolution to that effect. Pakistan PM Yousaf Raza Gilani had declared that Pakistan would comply with the UN resolution.

    But the fact he is roaming around in Pakistan is a clear evidence that ISI rules Pakistan- not the elected government.Recommend

  • Danish
    May 26, 2010 - 12:29AM

    @ Mr. Ibrahim: i totally agree wid u. u nailed it very well. n our dilemma is our nation is a group of emotional fools who can do anything if u tell them they r actually serving islam. and Mullah Inc. knows this fact very well and there marketing department use it extremely efficiently. BTW people, Pakistan’s ideology was secular but was hijacked by the same mullahs who were against her creation. Recommend

  • Mahmood
    May 26, 2010 - 1:21AM

    Mr. Ibrahim sajid malick you have guts :-) well said about Hafiz Saeed. Some of the readers here are confusing charity that is used as a cover to spread hatred with sincere work.
    There is plenty proof that Hafiz Saeed is guilty. He should be handed over to Interpol. We must get rid of people like these otherwise we cannot stand any chance of respect in this world.

    Ayesha and Marium – why are you guys supporting a terrorist?Recommend

  • May 26, 2010 - 1:40AM

    Here i would like to say only a sentence about the psychology of the persons shared their comments above against the supreme court verdict that “Islamic philosphy could not knock their doors”.Recommend

  • AZMAT KHAN
    May 26, 2010 - 2:13AM

    I ENDORSE FULLY THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY IBRAHIM SAJID MALICK.
    HE HAS DONE A GREAT JOB.WORDS FAIL ME TO EULOGIZE HIM IN REAL SENSE.
    MALIK SAHIB.PLEASE CONTINUE WRITING ON SUCH TOPICS AND NEVER LOSE HEART. GOOD LUCK. Recommend

  • Rasheed Abbassi
    May 26, 2010 - 5:21AM

    this is a sad day for us again. first our coservative court bans Facebook and than they free the terrorist. this is shameful.

    Do you know we have not punished a single terrorist in this country. Shame of us.

    Mr. Ibrahim is right with his condemning Hafiz Saeed. we should all join him.Recommend

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