Hafiz Saeed seeks protection from arrest ahead of UN team's arrival in Pakistan

Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November. He was under detention since January 2017.

PTI| Updated: Jan 23, 2018, 23:30 PM IST
Hafiz Saeed seeks protection from arrest ahead of UN team's arrival in Pakistan
Pic courtesy: Reuters

Lahore: Mumbai attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed on Tuesday filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking protection from arrest ahead of the arrival of the UNSC's sanctions monitoring team, saying the government wants to arrest him at the behest of India and the US.

The monitoring committee of the United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee will be visiting Islamabad this week for an assessment of Islamabad's compliance with the world body's sanctions regime. The two-day visit is likely to begin from Thursday.

A media report yesterday said Pakistan will not allow the committee any direct access to JuD chief or his entities.

Saeed, anticipating a possible action against him and his organisations, filed the petition through his counsel A K Dogar seeking the court's direction to the PML-N government restraining it from arresting him and taking action against JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation.

The founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) said the government of Pakistan has plans to take adverse action against him.

"The PML-N government wants to arrest me at the behest of the United States and India," he said, adding that the US and Indian lobby for the last many years has been trying to prove that he was "somehow involved in Mumbai attacks".

Saeed further said the Punjab government of Shahbaz Sharif had detained him for 10 months without any legal ground. A judicial review board, however, ordered his release after the government's failure to justify his house arrest.

Saeed requested the court to restrain the government from "acting in a manner which is not permitted by law and direct it to enforce fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 9 of the Constitution at remain at liberty".

Saeed also boasted that he is "founder/chairman of JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and has established 142 schools, three universities and for the last many years is engaged in activities of public welfare".

Talking to reporters here, Saeed said he would welcome the UN team to visit the JuD and FIF centres in the country.

"The UN team will come to know our public welfare work if it visits our centres," he said.

The UN team's visit is taking place amid increasing pressure on Pakistan from the US and Indian governments with respect to inadequate implementation of the sanctions on Saeed and entities linked to him.

The State Department had said last week that the US had clearly conveyed its concern to Pakistan on Saeed and called for his prosecution "to the fullest extent of the law".

It also said that Saeed's name was on the UN list of designated terrorists.

Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The UNSC sanctions list includes the names of JuD, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, FIF and other groups and individuals.

The UNSC monitoring committee oversees the sanctions measures imposed by the Security Council under the rules. The member states are required to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities.

Last week, Pakistan banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the FIF and other organizations on the UNSC sanctions list.

Saeed was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November. He was under detention since January 2017.

The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.