Pak court adjourns Saeed`s petition to defend him in US court

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 00:10

Lahore: A Pakistani court adjourned
hearing on a petition filed by Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz
Muhammed Saeed seeking legal aid from the government to defend
him in a US lawsuit filed by relatives of two Jewish-American
victims of the Mumbai attacks following a request from the
petitioner.

Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh of the Lahore High Court
put off the matter after Saeed`s counsel informed the court
that he intended to move an application for placing the
petition before Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry as he had
headed a bench that decided a related matter in the past.

Saeed, blamed by India for masterminding the Mumbai
incident, had last week filed a petition in the High Court
asking it to direct the federal government to appoint a
counsel to defend him in a lawsuit filed in a Brooklyn court
by relatives of two Jewish victims of the 2008 attacks.

Saeed contended he had the right to seek aid from the
government as it had decided to defend Inter-Services
Intelligence officials named in the lawsuit.

Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, who was recently appointed Chief
Justice of the Lahore High Court, headed a division bench that
freed Saeed from house arrest on June 2, 2009.

Saeed had then been detained by Pakistani authorities
after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a front for the
banned Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT).

Chaudhry has also ruled in favour of several petitions
moved by pro-Islamist organisations and groups.
In a controversial ruling last year, he briefly banned
Facebook after some groups objected to pages on the social
networking website that featured blasphemous caricatures of
Prophet Mohammed.

The Pakistan government has already skirted the issue
of defending Saeed in the US lawsuit, with the Foreign Office
spokesman saying authorities would only protect the interests
of officials named in the case.

Pakistan`s decision to defend ISI officials does not
apply to "non-officials", the spokesman said last week.

In his petition, Saeed has claimed that he heads the
JuD, which he described as a "charitable organisation" that
has no links with the LeT.

He further claimed he was "wrongly detained" by the
government after the Mumbai attacks but a bench of the Lahore
High Court had ordered his release after "observing that there
was no evidence that the petitioner had any links with Al
Qaeda or any terrorist who could endanger the security of
Pakistan".

This bench was headed by current Chief Justice
Chaudhry.

Saeed and several officials, including ISI chief Lt
Gen Ahmed Shuaj Pasha and his predecessor, Lt Gen Nadeem Taj,
have been served summons by the US District Court in Brooklyn.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 00:10

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