Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed has asked the Pakistan government to immediately remove his name from a list that bars him from leaving the country, claiming he was neither a security risk nor his outfit ever engaged in terrorist activities.
In a letter to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, in which 166 people died, said: “A memorandum issued on January 30, 2017 placing 38 individuals should be withdrawn forthwith.”
The government last month put Saeed and 37 other leaders of JuD and his Falah-e-Insaniyat charity on Exit Control List.
It also put Saeed and four other leaders of the organisations under ‘house arrest’ for 90 days for engaging in activities 'prejudicial' to peace and security.
Additionally, the interior ministry put JuD and FIF on a ‘watch-list’ for six months.
But Saeed contended the government decisions saying: “The JuD has never been involved in any terrorist activity in Pakistan and no incident of any terrorism or destruction of property was ever alleged against the organisation.”
He argued that no material has ever been produced by federal or provincial governments against him in a court of law.
He cited an observation of a full-bench of the Lahore high court in a 2009 case against him. The court had said: "In the present case the government is not in possession of any evidence that the petitioners are risk to the security of Pakistan and merely on the basis of the UN Resolution their liberty cannot be curtailed."
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s former president Gen Pervez Musharraf has demanded Saeed’s release from house arrest, claiming the Mumbai attack mastermind’s outfit was a ‘very fine NGO’ engaged in relief activities.
"Hafiz Saeed should definitely be freed. They are not terrorists, they run a very fine NGO, they contribute to relief activities in post earthquake and post floods periods in Pakistan. They run great welfare organisations,” he said.
Musharraf told a Pakistani TV channel that Saeed’s FIF charity was engaging ‘religious’ youth in relief and welfare activities, according to a report in Dawn.
"In my opinion they are against Taliban (in Pakistan), they did not commit any terrorism in Pakistan or anywhere in the world. So they should be dealt separately,” he said.
When asked about recent developments regarding JuD, he said, “We (as a nation) remain confused on terrorism, like we are confused in respect to JuD and Hafiz Saeed”.
India is against them because their supporters ‘go voluntarily’ to Kashmir to fight the Indian army, he said.