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Pak authorities keep Lashkar chief under watch

June 05, 2009 12:42 IST

Pakistani authorities are keeping a close watch on Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who is allegedly the mastermind behind the terror attack on Mumbai, after a court ordered his release from detention three days ago.

Personnel from the Prison Department were withdrawn from Saeed's residence in Johar Town in Lahore soon after the Lahore High Court released him from house arrest on Tuesday.

However, the government of Punjab province has deployed policemen at his home on the pretext of providing security to him, officials said. "In fact, Saeed is being closely watched. We cannot risk leaving him alone under the present circumstances," a government officer told PTI.

The police have erected barricades outside Saeed's home and those coming to meet him are being watched.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Shafiq Ahmed said a 'good number' of policemen had been deployed outside Saeed's residence. Ahmed added that the police had orders to 'keep an eye' on him and his activities, even as he met key personalities like Jamaat-e-Islami leaders.

Pakistan's Attorney General Latif Khosa has told the media that a United Nations Security Council-mandated travel ban on Jamaat-ud-Dawah leaders and freeze on the group's assets continued to be in place.

Though Saeed has not left his residence, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawwar Hassan called on him with a delegation on Thursday. During the meeting, Saeed said all religious parties should unite with the single point agenda of driving the United StatesĀ  out of the region. Saeed also extended support to the Jamaat-e-Islami's 'Go America Go' campaign.

Saeed and three close aides were held in connection with the Mumbai attacks in December last year. On Tuesday, a three-member bench of the Lahore High Court accepted Saeed's petition challenging his detention and ordered his immediate release.

The court said the government "has no sufficient grounds to detain the petitioners for preventive measures".

It added that the government could not rely on the UN Security Council resolution that imposed restrictions on the JuD to detain Saeed as this was 'not desired' by the resolution. The Pakistan government announced on Thursday that it plans to file an appeal against the High Court's order freeing Saeed.

M Zulqernain in Lahore
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