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Pakistan PM says Hafiz Saeed is 'in custody'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 22, 2009 17:17 IST
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Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday announced that Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and founder of Lashkar-e-Tayiba Hafiz Saeed, blamed by India for masterminding the Mumbai attacks, is "in custody" of Pakistani authorities; but did not make it clear whether he had been arrested.

Asked by reporters if Saeed had been arrested, Gilani replied: "The interior ministry can tell you the actual position, but I believe he is in custody."

"A decision on his case will be taken on the basis of laws and evidence (against him)," said Gilani, who spoke in Urdu, in his hometown of Multan.

Gilani also said Pakistan was conducting an investigation into the Mumbai incident "in an honest manner".

"Action will be taken on the basis of evidence that we get and I want to assure you that Pakistan will not allow any terrorist to use its soil and no one will be given an opportunity to carry out terrorist activities directed against another country from Pakistan," he said.

The police in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore imposed restrictions on Saeed's movement on Sunday night. Though no formal written order has been issued to detain Saeed or restrict his movements, Lahore police chief Pervaiz Rathore said on Monday that the JuD chief was "under house arrest".

India expects Pakistan to act swiftly against Saeed.

Ahead of his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in New York on September 27, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said India would be interested to see how Pakistan proceeded with reference to the Mumbai terror attacks. "He (Saeed) was the brain behind that attack on India. So I think we expect Pakistan to act swiftly," Krishna said in New York.

Foreign secretaries of the two countries are also meeting on September 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Pakistan's action against Saeed came days after the police in Faisalabad city registered two cases against him under the Anti-Terrorism Act for inciting people to wage 'jihad' and seeking funds for his banned group. Observers have said that it is significant that the Pakistani police have registered cases against Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

In the past, Saeed has been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order law, which allows authorities to detain people for up to 90 days without any charges. Saeed was put under house arrest under the MPO in December last year after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a terrorist organisation.

He was freed on the orders of the Lahore High Court in June.

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