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Hafiz Saeed approaches LHC to avoid possible arrest

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Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed has approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) against his possible arrest by the government at the behest of United States and India. The petition was filed through advocate A.K. Dogar in the LHC on Tuesday. Hafiz Saeed claims that the government plans on taking adverse action against him during the visit of United Nation Security Council (UNSC)’s delegation on Friday 26th January.

The counsel for Hafiz Saeed argued that he is the founder of JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) and had established 142 schools, three universities and was engaged in many public welfare programs for several years. Dogar stated that the Punjab government had earlier detained Saeed for 90 days under the Maintenance of Public Ordinance, but a review board comprising of senior judges of the high court rejected the government’s application for the extension of Saeed’s house arrest.

If Saeed is not arrested before the UN delegation is here, Pakistan might have to face more sanctions but the Pakistan authorities might try to please the delegation by showing them their efforts in curbing terrorism and putting a ban on organization placed in the UN sanctions list.

He also argued that the US and India blame Saeed for the Mumbai attacks but lack any evidence to prove it. The JuD chief on Tuesday announced to observe 10 days for Kashmir from 2nd to 11th February. While addressing a press conference at the occasion, he offered the UN delegation to visit all JuD centres and claimed that they did not do any illegal work in those centres. Hafiz Saeed blamed the government for using the UN delegation as an excuse for all their actions against JuD.

Read more: Hafiz Saeed release raises Pak-India tensions

‘The government is trying to fool the people since this is not the first time that a UN delegation is visiting Pakistan. There are a surfeit UN resolution on Kashmir but India does not care about them,’ Saeed lamented. The government of Pakistan had earlier banned JuD, FIF and other organisation on the UNSC sanctions list.

The notification was issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on 1st January 2018. The government also plans on seizing control of these charities. Hafiz Saeed blamed the government for taking dictation from US and India on banning his organisations. He challenged them to prove any illegal activities of the organisations in the court.

The US has already suspended its military aid to Pakistan which will put extra strain on our already fragile economy. It can be expected that Pakistan will arrest Saeed, even if temporarily to please the UN delegation but Saeed’s petition in the LHC might have put Pakistan’s plan in jeopardy.

The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to move against the charities on Monday while giving an interview to Reuters. “Yes, the government will take over the charities which are sanctioned and not allowed to operate,” Abbasi told Reuters. The PM hinting towards the military establishment assured that everybody is on the same page.

Read more: India fumes over release of Hafiz Saeed

The decision to ban the organizations was made on 1st January 2018, the same day that US President Donald Trump posted a jarring tweet against Pakistan, accusing it of harboring terrorists on its soil and taking funds with lies and deceit. Saeed recently asked the UN to come and visit his charities so he could prove to them that he is not a terrorist. He stated, “The functions of JuD are not hidden in Pakistan. Everyone can observe our humanitarian work and activities”.

He spoke about a malicious campaign by foreign forces designed to frame a narrative against him labeling him as a terrorist. The fact that Hafiz Saeed approached the LHC even before the government made any attempts to arrest him proves that he believes his arrest to be imminent. The crackdown against JuD, FIF and other organizations appears to be the result of the mounting US pressure against Pakistan to ‘do more’. Pakistan argues that it will not accept any pressure from anyone and it won’t be coerced into action.

Pakistan is going through a rough economic patch, with the budget deficit on the rise and foreign reserves on the decline. Considering the trouble that Pakistan’s economy is facing, Pakistan cannot afford any more economic sanctions by the UN.

The government of Pakistan had previously kept Saeed under house arrest even when the international pressure wasn’t very high. The pressure from US and India might not be the only reason that the government plans to arrest Saeed but it might be an impetus.

Read more: Hafiz Saeed’s arrest a state decision: DG ISPR

The UNSC sanctions team is going to visit Pakistan on 26th January; the authorities seem worried about the visit which explains Hafiz Saeed’s anxiety of being arrested. Pakistan is going through a rough economic patch, with the budget deficit on the rise and foreign reserves on the decline. Considering the trouble that Pakistan’s economy is facing, Pakistan cannot afford any more economic sanctions by the UN.

The US has already suspended its military aid to Pakistan which will put extra strain on our already fragile economy. It can be expected that Pakistan will arrest Saeed, even if temporarily to please the UN delegation but Saeed’s petition in the LHC might have put Pakistan’s plan in jeopardy. If Saeed is not arrested before the UN delegation is here, Pakistan might have to face more sanctions but the Pakistan authorities might try to please the delegation by showing them their efforts in curbing terrorism and putting a ban on organization placed in the UN sanctions list.


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