Lahore: A Pakistani court, hearing the pleas of Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his deputy challenging the fixing of bounty on their heads by the US, today sought a reply from the government whether it can defend its citizens abroad.
The Lahore High Court asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to inform the court "in black and white" whether it could defend Pakistani citizens in foreign countries.
LHC Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza issued the order while hearing the pleas of JuD chief Saeedand his deputy Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki challenging the fixing of bounty on their heads by the US.
In the pleas, Saeed and Makki said the announcement of bounty was liable to be withdrawn and they needed to be protected being citizens of Pakistan.
They asked the court to direct the government to protect them and make arrangements for their security.
The petitioners also sought direction to the government to raise the matter of bounty with the US.
The judge adjourned the hearing till April 13. This is the third bench of the LHC hearing the case.
The case has been pending in the LHC for over two years.
US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in 2012 announced a head-money of USD 10 million and USD 3 million on Saeed and Makki respectively while she was in India.
In the pleas, Saeed and Makki pleaded that the government should also seek evidence from the US on the basis of which it put the head money on Saeed.
Advocate A K Dogar, counsel for Saeed and Makki, has argued that his clients had been running a charitable organisation and had no nexus with any banned outfit.
Dogar alleged that that US acted against his clients on the "instigation" of India.
He argued that head money is usually announced on the accused hiding in mountains or not traceable while Saeed and Makki are available and?ready to face any investigation.
He said Saeed was head of JuD which he called a charitable organisation having no links to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Saeed had been detained by the Pakistani government in 2009 on charges of having links with Al-Qaeda but a full bench of LHC had set aside the detention after it failed to provide any evidence against him.
He said both the Supreme Court and the LHC had already exonerated Saeed of all charges leveled against him by India and the US, regarding his alleged involvement in terror activities, especially the Mumbai attacks.