Hafiz Saeed walks out free: Pakistan’s sham counter-terrorism


ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Exposing Pakistan’s attempts at putting up a semblance of fighting terror on its soil, the Judicial Review Board of Pakistan’s Punjab province on November 22 ordered the release of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed from house arrest rejecting Pakistan government’s plea to extend his detention for 60 days. Since January, when the Jamaat-ud Dawah (JuD) chief was first apprehended, the detention was extended four times.

“The government is ordered to release JuD (Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed if he is not wanted in any other case,” the board said. “Concept of justice cannot be brutalised and terrorised in the name of fight against terrorism,” it ruled.

The release of Saeed comes on the eve of the 9th anniversary of the savage Mumbai terror attacks, which were masterminded by Pakistani terrorists, in alleged connivance with Pakistan’s military-intelligence apparatus.

Sensing the US administration’s toughened stand on terror, Pakistan had placed Hafiz Saeed and four of his aides under house arrest in January for 90 days. Last month, his four aides were released. Believed to be a front organization of the banned Lashkar–e-Taiba (LeT), the JuD was blacklisted as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014. With the US declaring a $10 million bounty on Saeed’s head, the Pakistani establishment fears the imposition of international sanctions to be the fallout of such a move.

The judicial board had allowed for a 30-day extension last month and came out with this verdict this time, citing the failure of the government to produce further evidence. Operating behind its charity arm, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, the JuD had long enjoyed free reign in Pakistan spewing venom against India.

In a video message released by his party’s media team shortly after his release the extremist leader said, “It’s because of Kashmir that India is after me, but all her efforts have been in vain and Allah has set me free… This is victory of Pakistan’s freedom and God willing Kashmir will also be freed because I’m fighting Kashmir’s case”.


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