26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed to walk out of jail days before terror attack anniversary

Hafiz Saeed is a declared terrorist by the United Nations, the United States and India for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks

In a move that may flare up tensions with India, a Pakistani court has ordered the release of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed from house arrest.

Judicial Review Board of the Lahore High Court ordered the release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, overruling Pak government’s request that the move may trigger international sanctions against Pakistan.

Saeed, a declared terrorist by the United Nations, the United States and India for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was under house arrest for last 11 months. He was held in a crackdown after the government put the JuD and its charity arm, Falah-i-Insaaniyat Foundation, under sanctions and terror watchlist. Saeed’s detention had been extended four times since January.

Also Read: JuD chief Hafiz Saeed ‘spreading terrorism in the name of jihad’, says Pakistan

The board, which was headed by Justice Abdul Sami Khan, said in a ruling,

The government is ordered to release JuD chief Hafiz Saeed if he is not wanted in any other case.

The three-judge board said in its ruling,

Concept of Justice cannot be brutalised and terrorised in the name of fight against terrorism.

Saeed may walk out free in a couple of days if the government does not detain him in any other case.

Hafiz Saeed

26/11 terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed regularly addressed anti-India rallies across Pakistan.

India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to re-investigate the Mumbai terror attack case and also demanded a trial of Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in light of the evidence it had provided to Islamabad.

After the decision, Saeed’s supporters chanted slogans in favour of their leader.

Also Read: US sanctions Hafiz Saeed’s JuD and other Pakistan-based terror groups to curb their financial support

Last month, the board had allowed a 30-day extension to the detention of Saeed which will expire in a couple of days.