Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is blamed by the US and India for masterminding terrorist attacks, and four of his party men have been placed under house arrest for three months.
Lahore police authorities told Dawn on Monday that the JuD chief’s Johar Town residence would be declared a sub-jail for Saeed and four other members of the organisation, reports the DAWN.
Saeed is also the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist group linked to outlawed militant outfits in Bangladesh including Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HujiB) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). He is also accused of inciting revenge attacks to the “atrocities on Rohingya Muslims” in Myanmar.
A handout issued by the Interior Ministry said that Hafiz Saeed (Lahore), Abdullah Ubaid (Faisalabad), Zafar Iqbal (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke), Abdul Rehman Abid (Markaz Tayyaba Muridke) and Qazi Kashif Niazi of Multan, who handles JuD’s publications, had been taken into protective custody.
The JuD and the Falah-i-Insaaniat Foundation (FIF), a charity organisation affiliated with the JuD, have been included in the second schedule and will be placed on the government’s watch list for six months under Section (1) 11EEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
The district intelligence committee had, however, suggested that the government put the JuD chief’s name in fourth schedule.
Meanwhile, national flags have been hoisted at the JuD offices in Lahore, instead of party flags, on the directives of provincial home department. The provincial authorities have also started to remove the banners of JuD from the roads of Lahore.
A large police contingent surrounded the JuD headquarters at Chauburji Chowk on Monday where Saeed was holding a consultative meeting with party leaders.
Hafiz Khalid, JuD’s political affairs secretary, said the names of several JuD leaders had also been placed on the Exit Control List on Monday.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan confirmed that the government was in the process of deciding the JuD’s fate. “The situation will become clear by [Tuesday],” he said, adding that JuD had been on the watch-list for several years.
The organisation was also listed under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267, which is known as al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee. The minister said that certain actions were to be taken by the state after its enlistment, which had not been taken, adding that the government was now moving to meet those obligations.
The United Nations Security Council had placed sanctions against the JuD, declaring it a terrorist organisation in December 2008.
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.
The US State Department in June 2014 had termed the JuD a “foreign terrorist organisation,” a status that freezes any assets it has under the US jurisdiction.
New Delhi blames Saeed for the Mumbai attacks that killed at least 166 people, but Pakistan argues that India has failed to provide incriminating evidence against him.
A JuD spokesman says they would not resist police action and would prefer to fight their case in court.
The JuD chief remained under house arrest for months during the Musharraf regime in 2002 after an attack on the Indian parliament and once again after the Mumbai attacks in 2008. The Lahore High Court had ordered his release in June 2009 after the government had failed to establish a case against him.
Saeed to move court
Hours before he was detained on Monday, Saeed had held a briefing for journalists and columnists on the Kashmir issue. Responding to a query about a possible ban on the JuD, he said that he would move court instead of setting up an alternative party.
The JuD chief had also announced plans to hold a march on Islamabad to pressure the government to review the Simla agreement at a joint session of the parliament and declare unambiguous policy on Kashmir.
He urged the government to review the Simla agreement which, he said, had been signed under duress giving India an edge in the Kashmir dispute.
Military agrees on strict measures
On Thursday, state policy on non-state actors was discussed in a high-level security meeting between the civilian and military leadership.
In an unprecedented warning, the government informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state.
During the meeting, it was decided that military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action.
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said that to prevent the drift towards Pakistan, the principal international demands are for action against Masood Azhar and the Jaish-i-Mohmmad; Hafiz Saeed and the Lashkar-i-Taiba; and the Haqqani network.