Islamabad, November 25 (The Hindu): Hours after his release from house arrest, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed made a scathing attack on ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, calling him a traitor who wants peace with India.
“You took oath to defend Pakistan and Kashmir, you betrayed the people of Kashmir. I want to tell you that you were ousted from power because you committed treason for trying to develop close relations with [Prime Minister] Modi, who is the killer of hundreds of Muslims,” Saeed said in a Friday prayer sermon at the Markaz Al-Qadsia in Lahore.
Saeed was freed from house arrest as the Home Department decided not to file any other case against him. Police guards were removed from his residence after midnight of Thursday where a large number of supporters gathered to celebrate the end of his house arrest.
A Judicial Review Board of the Lahore High Court on November 21 ordered his release after the authorities failed to file any formal charges against him since his detention in January last. The board also rejected the request of the government of Pakistani Punjab for further extension of his house arrest.
A government lawyer had urged the board to extend the house arrest for another three months as the country may face cut in aid or limited sanctions for freeing a United Nations-designated terrorist.
Cuts ‘The Freedom Cake’
A picture of Saeed was posted by his social media team where he is seen cutting a cake after his release. The post was titled ‘The Freedom Cake’.
Saeed addressed his supporters at his Johar Town residence in Lahore in which he vowed to continue his struggle to free Kashmir from India. “Although there are only few days left in this year, we will continue our struggle in the next year and mobilise people and take forward our movement to free Kashmir. God willing with the support of people we will take Kashmir to its destiny,” he sad.
Saeed has been designated a terrorist by the U.N., the U.S. and India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Last month, the authorities withdrew terrorism charges against him and the JuD and kept him under detention under the Maintenance of public Order (MPO), paving the way for a possible release. His detention was extended five times since he was held in a crackdown after the government put the JuD and its charity arm, Falah-i-Insaaniyat Foundation, under sanctions and terror watch list.
Saeed challenged his detention in the High Court in February. His lawyer A.K. Dogar urged the court to order the release of Saeed and his four aides as no formal charges have been filed against his client after so many months of detention.
Poll panel rejects application
In September, Pakistan’s election commission rejected an application of the Milli Muslim League party, which was formed to mainstream Saeed’s banned JuD. Pakistan’s Interior Ministry wrote a letter to the commission that the JuD and its charity wing were under sanctions within the country, and internationally as well.