Pakistani court bars govt from ‘harassing’ Hafiz Saeed

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Islamabad, April 5 (IANS) The Lahore High Court on Thursday ordered government authorities to not “harass” banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and allow him to continue his “social welfare activities”.

The founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) alleged in a petition that the government was interfering in his party’s welfare projects because it had bowed down to pressure from India and the US, Dawn online reported.

The petition argued that barring an organisation or party from indulging in charity work was against the Constitution.

Justice Ameenud Din Khan, who heard the petition filed by lawyer A.K. Dogar on Saeed’s behalf, also directed the authorities to submit their responses by April 23.

Saeed had filed a nearly identical petition through Dogar before the same judge in March. That time, Justice Khan had directed the federal and provincial governments to submit their responses by April 27.

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However, due to the similar nature of both petitions, the court decided to club the cases.

After hearing Saeed’s arguments in Thursday’s hearing, Justice Khan issued notices to the federal and provincial governments again, directing them to file their replies. The hearing was subsequently adjourned until April 23.

On January 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan had barred JuD and several other such organisations named in a list of banned outfits by the UN Security Council from collecting donations in the country.

The federal government had followed suit on February 12, with President Mamnoon Hussain amending the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 1997 and issuing the amended Anti-Terrorism Ordinance, 2018, following which the personnel banned by the UN stood banned in Pakistan as well.

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Earlier this week, the US designated LeT’s political front, the Milli Muslim League (MML), as well as another front organisation, the Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (TAJK), as foreign terrorist groups.

–IANS

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