Lahore: The Lahore High Court has asked the Punjab government to explain the extension of house arrest of Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed without the approval from a judicial review board.
A Lahore High Court division bench headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan held a hearing yesterday on the petition of Saeed and his four aides -- Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain -- who have challenged their detention under the anti-terrorism law.
Representing them, counsel A K Dogar told the court that the government had extended the detention of Saeed and four other leaders of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and the Falah-e- Insaniat (FIF) for another 90 days without any legal justification.
He said that the period of the detention was extended through a notification issued by a federal secretary.
"Their detention cannot be extended without approval of a judicial review board," Dogar argued.
The bench then asked the Punjab government's law officer to respond. The officer confirmed that the detainees were not produced before any review board for the extension of the detention period.
The bench expressed concern and directed the law officer to submit a written reply on extending the detention period of the petitioners without the approval of the judicial review board.
The court was then adjourned and the next hearing would take place on May 16.
The government on January 30 had first put Saeed and the four leaders under house arrest in Lahore for their alleged involvement in activities prejudicial to peace and security.
The house arrest was made for a period of 90 days ending on April 30 when it was extended for a further three months.
The JuD, the front group of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, and its sister organisation Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), had also been put under terror watch on the basis of a report sent by the ministry of foreign affairs.
According to media reports, the Nawaz Sharif government had detained Saeed after the Trump administration, which had just taken over, had told Pakistan that it may face sanctions if it did not act against JuD and its chief.
Saeed and his aides allege in their petition that the government detained them without any legal justification.
Saeed was also put under house arrest after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, but he was freed by a court in 2009.
He has a bounty of USD 10 million on his head for his role in terror activities.