The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday appointed an amicus curiae for assistance on a petition filed by Jamatud Dawa (JD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed seeking a direction to the government to defend him before a US Court which had issued summons to him, former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha and other officials in a law suit filed by relatives of US citizens killed in Mumbai attacks.
LHC Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial adjourned the hearing till February 8.
US nationals Rabbi Gabriel Noah Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were killed by militants in Mumbai attacks. Their son Moshe survived the attack and along with others filed nine claims against Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s (LeT) Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Azam Cheema and Sajid Majid as well as two former ISI chiefs Nadeem Taj and Ahmed Shuja Pasha and two others, Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali, who they allege were part of the ISI. All the defendants were accused of providing material support for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. For each of the claims, the plaintiffs have sought damages of $75,000.
Hafiz Saeed, through his lawyer AK Dogar, submitted that he is the head of Jamatud Dawa, a charitable organisation, and has no link with LeT.
He said the government had detained him in 2009 and a full bench of the LHC had ordered his release. Saeed said the bench had observed that there was no evidence that he had any links with Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organisation which could be a danger to Pakistan.
The petitioner said that on December 16, 2010 he was served with a summons from a United States district court in connection with a case relating to the Mumbai attacks. He said on December 31, 2010, the federal government announced that it would defend the suit against other parties including then ISI head Pasha.
Saeed said that he is a citizen of Pakistan and the government should defend him in the same manner as it was defending others.
The petitioner said under Article 25 of the Constitution all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of the law.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2013.
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