The government of Punjab has withdrawn a request seeking an extension to the house arrest of banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and four of his associates under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The five will, however, continue to be kept under house arrest; but under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO).
Justice Ejaz Afzal of the Supreme Court chaired the session of Federal Review Board, which was hearing the request, at the SC’s Lahore registry on Saturday. A section officer of Punjab’s Home Ministry informed the board that the government had not extended a notification issued for the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and it wants to withdraw the application. In response, the board disposed of the application.
The provincial government had applied to extend the house arrest for the fifth time. Saeed is supposed to remain under house arrest till the end of this month under the existing order.
Saeed and his fellows have already challenged their house arrest under MPO in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
On January 31, provincial authorities had issued orders to place Saeed under house arrest and the JuD chief had subsequently been detained under Section 11-EEE(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1977.
Saeed has been accused by the United States and India of masterminding the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people. He, however, has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
In 2012, the United States announced a bounty of $10 million on Hafiz Saeed for his alleged role in the attack, in which six American citizens were also killed.