Pakistan extends house arrest of Hafiz Saeed

World Tuesday 01/August/2017 16:11 PM
By: Times News Service
Pakistan extends house arrest of Hafiz Saeed

Islamabad: Pakistan has extended by two months the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed, accused by the United States of masterminding 2008 attacks on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai that killed 166 people, a government document reviewed by Reuters showed.
Saeed was put under house arrest in January after years of living freely in Pakistan, one of the sore points in the country's fraying relationship with the United States. His freedom had also infuriated India.
In a document marked "secret", the government of Pakistan's eastern province of Punjab said it was ordering the extension on the recommendations of the federal government and the interior ministry in Islamabad.
Yahya Mujahid, spokesman for Saeed's Muslim charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), confirmed that Saeed was among five members of the charity given an extended term of house arrest.
The Counter Terrorism Department believes Saeed's supporters plan to "spread chaos in the country" and stage demonstrations to project Saeed as a hero, Punjab's home department said in the document.
A campaign is being waged by Abdul Rehman Makki, believed to be Saeed's deputy at JuD, to drum up the the support of workers.
"Transport is being arranged, arms are also being collected for show of force and for use, and if need be, against the personnel of law enforcement agencies," the document added. "Funds are also being collected for the purpose."
Reuters' telephone calls to an official spokesman seeking comment on the document were not immediately answered.
The United States had offered $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed, who heads JuD, which Washington says is a front for the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Reuters could not contact Saeed for comment, but he has always denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks of 2008 that brought the neighbours Pakistan and India to the brink of war.
In the attacks, 10 gunmen swarmed across targets including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a train station in a rampage that lasted several days.
India accused LeT, which Saeed founded in the 1990s, of sponsoring the attacks. Saeed, who has distanced himself from LeT, has repeatedly denied responsibility.
Previous Pakistani announcements of action against militant groups have rarely resulted in serious punishment.