Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and four of his aides have been detained for "spreading terrorism in the name of jihad", Pakistan's interior ministry has told a judicial review board.
Saeed appeared before the board on Saturday and told it that he had been illegally detained by the Pakistani government. However, the interior ministry rejected his arguments and told the three-member board that Saeed and his aides have been detained for "spreading terrorism in the name of jihad".
The board comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan of the Pakistan Supreme Court, Justice Ayesha A Malik of Lahore High Court and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail of Balochistan High Court directed the ministry to submit a complete record regarding detention of Saeed and his aides - Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid, Abdullah Ubaid and Qazi Kashif Niaz on next hearing, scheduled for May 15.
The board also sought personal appearance of the attorney general of Pakistan on next hearing. Pakistan police produced the terrorist and his four aides before the board at Lahore registry of the Supreme court amid high security.
Saeed's counsel advocate AK Dogar was also present but the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist chose to plead his case before the court and appealed to the board to set aside the detention order.
"The government detained the JuD leaders on pressure of United Nations and international organisations," an official representing the Pakistan interior ministry told the board.
Last Thursday, Lahore High Court division bench had questioned as why Saeed and others were not presented before a review board before the government issued notification for extension to his detention for another 90 days.
On April 30, the detention of Saeed and his four aides was extended by Pakistan's Punjab government for another 90 days under preventative detention under 11 EEE (I) and 11D of Anti- Terrorism Act 1997. On January 30, Saeed and his aides were placed under house arrest in Lahore for their involvement in activities which can be prejudicial to peace and security. The government has also placed JuD under second schedule of its anti-terrorism act.
The Nawaz Sharif government had reportedly taken action against Saeed after the US clearly told Islamabad that it may face sanctions otherwise.
JuD is said to be the front for the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The organisation has been recognised as a terrorist outfit by the US.
Saeed claimed in his petition that the government detained them without any legal justification. The petition further claimed the UN resolution followed by the government did not seek detention of any citizen.