The detention of Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed was a “policy decision in the national interest” as the government declared that the Jamat-ud Dawa leader’s 90-day house arrest could be stretched if needed, said Pakistan’s army on Tuesday.
“The detention is a policy decision taken in the national interest. The relevant department may give more information in a day or two and the situation will become clearer,” said military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor.
Following mounting pressure from the Trump administration, Pakistani authorities, placed Mumbai attacks mastermind and Jamaat-udDawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and four others under detention on Monday night. The step was taken under an anti-terrorism act.
“The government has detained Saeed and four other JuD and Falaha-i-Insanyat (FIF) leaders for 90 days with effect from January 30 but this detention may further be extended on completion of this period if required,” an interior ministry official said.
“The government may take some further steps against the JuD and its sister organisations in coming days,” he added.
The police implemented the detention order issued on Sunday by Punjab province’s interior ministry following a directive from the federal interior ministry on January 27. Saeed was at Lahore’s Ma sjid-e-Qudsia Chauburji when the detention took place.
As per the Pakistani defence ministry official, though Islamabad had not received anything from the Trump administration, it had been feeling US pressure on the matter. “Trump is taking hard decisions against Muslim countries; there is open talk of actions against Pakistan also. So yes, this was a consideration,” he said. JuD member Nadeem, too, said, “This government has buckled under pressure.”
“The organisation (JuD) has been ‘under observation’ since 2010-11. Since it has also been listed by the UN Security Council (Sanctions Committee), we are bound to take some steps. We are taking those steps to fulfil our obligations,” the interior minister told reporters.
“The commanding police officer told us that he has with him the house arrest order of the JuD chief issued by the Punjab home department,” Nadeem said.
“We are going to shift Hafiz Saeed from Masjid Al-Qudsia Chauburji to his Jauhar Town residence to place him under house arrest on the orders of the government,” said a senior police. National flags were hoisted at the JuD offices in Lahore, instead of party flags. The provincial authorities have also started to remove JuD banners from Lahore’s roads, suggests reports.