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Pakistani Court Bars Government From Arresting Saeed

A court in Lahore has barred the provincial and federal government from arresting Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a U.S.-designated terror organization.

The court order, issued Wednesday, also prevents the government from putting Saeed under house arrest.

Saeed had filed a petition in Lahore High Court in January, expressing concerns the government might be considering putting him behind bars or under house arrest because of mounting pressure from the U.S. and India.

Both the state government of Punjab and the federal government were unable to immediately respond to Saeed’s allegations in court. 
The court has instructed the government to submit its response no later than April 4.

The Islamist cleric took the matter to court before the arrival of a U.N. Security Council delegation to Pakistan in late January. The delegation was in the country to monitor measures taken by the government against individuals and organizations listed on the U.N.’s terror watch list.

Saeed, a U.S.- and U.N.-designated global terrorist, is believed to be the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people, including six Americans.

Saeed was added to the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267 sanctions list in December 2008 following the Mumbai attacks.

His JuD and its charity organization, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), which he also runs, are both designated as terror outfits by the United States and the United Nations.

JuD is largely believed to be the front organization for Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), which was founded by Saeed in the 1980s with the aim of liberating Indian-administered Kashmir and subsequently merging it with Pakistan.

Over time, the group also has expanded its operations to Afghanistan.

Increased pressure

The United States designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2012 and offered a bounty of $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Pakistan has been under increasing pressure for its inability to prosecute Saeed and sanction JuD and FIF, which operate freely in the country despite being placed on the U.N.’s terror watch list.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, in briefing reporters in Washington last month, criticized Pakistan for not taking action against Saeed. “How many times have we talked about the person who Pakistan let out of house arrest, who was responsible for the Mumbai attacks back in 2008 that killed so many people, including Americans, too?” she asked, referring to Saeed.

This story was originally posted on VOA News (Extremism Watch Desk).

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