Lahore: The Pakistan government on Tuesday
informed a court that it would only defend the incumbent and
former ISI chiefs in a US lawsuit filed by relatives of
victims of the Mumbai attacks and that it would not extend
legal aid to Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.
Deputy Attorney General Nasim Kashmiri conveyed the
federal government`s stance in a reply submitted to the Lahore
High Court in response to a petition filed by Saeed seeking
assistance in defending himself in the US lawsuit.
The Foreign Ministry`s reply stated that the government
would not provide legal aid to any private individuals,
including Saeed, who have been summoned by a US District Court
in Brooklyn in connection with the lawsuit filed last year.
A K Dogar, the counsel for Saeed, argued that all
Pakistani citizens had equal rights under the Constitution and
that the government was constitutionally bound to protect the
rights of its citizens and defend them against "baseless
allegations" levelled in another country.
"If the government is defending its institutions, then
other citizens charged with same allegations are also entitled
to the same state protection," he claimed.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who is hearing the case,
adjourned the matter till October 12 after Dogar sought time
to file a rejoinder.
The US court had issued summons to Saeed, the current and
former chiefs of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency and
other Pakistani officials in connection with the lawsuit filed
by relatives of two Jewish victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The kin of the victims have made nine claims against the
banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, LeT and JuD leaders, former ISI chief
Nadeem Taj and incumbent chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and
others who were allegedly part of the plot behind the Mumbai
For each of the claims, the plaintiffs have sought
damages of USD 75,000.
Saeed claimed he was the head of JuD, a "charitable
organisation" and had no link with LeT.