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Pak frees 26/11 accused
Lahore HC says no proof against JuD chief Hafiz Saeed

Lahore, June 2
In a setback to the 26/11 probe, banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed, who had been under house arrest for nearly six months for his suspected role in the Mumbai terror attacks, was today set free by the Lahore High Court. A close aide of 59-year-old Saeed, Col Nazir Mohammad (Retd), also held in connection with the same attacks, too, was set free.

Notably, Saeed was put under house arrest on December 11 last year after the UN Security Council banned JuD, declaring it a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed by India for the November 26 Mumbai attacks.

In a brief order, a three-member bench of the High Court said, "The court accepts the petition of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Col Nazir Ahmed (Retd) against their detention, which is illegal. The court orders their immediate release."

A JuD spokesman hailed the verdict and said the organisation will continue its "relief activities".

JuD chief's counsel AK Dogar contended that there was no evidence of Saeed's involvement and that his detention violated Pakistan's constitution and laws. Saeed vowed to continue his struggle against what he described as the "India occupation" of J&K.

Denying any involvement of JuD in the Mumbai attacks, Saeed told a press conference, held at a mosque in his hometown, that his detention was a "conspiracy" against Pakistan. The JuD chief claimed that the Indian government had not been able to provide any evidence to back its contention that the JuD was linked to the Mumbai strikes.

During an earlier hearing of Saeed's petition, Pakistan had for the first time admitted that JuD had links with al-Qaeda. Saeed and several other JuD leaders were placed under house arrest in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks but most of them were subsequently freed.

Five LeT activists, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, are currently being tried by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi for alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

India has handed over three sets of dossiers on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and also responded to the clarifications sought by Islamabad. In the dossier handed over in January this year, New Delhi had given the statement of Mohammed Ajmal Iman Kasab, the lone arrested terrorist in 26/11 attack, in which he described the role of the JuD chief. PTI



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