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Pakistani court ends US-wanted militant leader's detention

23 November 2017

Just four days before the ninth anniversary of the attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, the mastermind of the terrorist attack, Hafiz Saeed is to be set free by a Pakistani court.

The court rejected a request by the government to extend his arrest, citing a lack of evidence.

The authorities, however, chose to keep Hafiz Saeed and his aides under house arrest under Section 3 of the MPO.

Hafiz Saeed - the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity said by the USA to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group - has been under house arrest since January.

A Pakistani court yesterday ordered the release of one of the alleged masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed more than 160 people, after months of USA pressure on Islamabad over its alleged support for militants.

In a video tweeted by a handle linked to the JuD hours after the board issued its order, Saeed blamed India for his detention and vowed to work for "Kashmir's independence".

The government had informed the judicial body that Saeed's release could lead to imposition of global sanctions on Pakistan.

Before the board's decision, a federal finance ministry official appeared before it and submitted "some important evidence" against Saeed to justify his detention.

A large number Saeed's supporters who had gathered at the Lahore High Court shouted slogans to show their support to the terrorist.

On January 31, Saeed and his four aides - Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain - were detained by the Punjab government for 90 days under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997.

Saeed has denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, during which a 10-member LeT team killed 166 people when they targeted two hotels, a Jewish centre and a railway station.

His spokesman, Yahya Mujahid, says a three-judge panel dismissed the government's plea. Last month, the Judicial Review Board had allowed a 30-day extension to his house arrest. "It can not face an worldwide backlash in the event of releasing the JuD chief".

Kasab was executed after a court found him guilty and handed down death sentence.

Pakistani court ends US-wanted militant leader's detention