Lashkar-e-Tayiba founder Hafiz Saeed has moved the high court in Lahore, asking it to stop Pakistani authorities from taking any "adverse action" against him under pressure from the United States and provide security to him as his life was "not safe" and any "mishap" could happen.
Acting on the petition of Saeed for whom the US has offered a 10 million-dollar bounty, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh on Wednesday issued notices to the federal government, the interior ministry and the Punjab home ministry to file their replies by April 25.
Saeed filed the petition along with his brother-in-law Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki, for whom the US has announced a USD two million bounty under its rewards for justice programme.
Saeed and Makki contended in the petition that under Articles 4 and 9 of the Pakistani constitution, they are free citizens, and the federal and provincial governments should be stopped from taking any "adverse action" against them under pressure from the US.
They asked the court to direct the government to provide them security as their "lives were not safe" and any "mishap" could happen.
Saeed and Makki further requested the court to direct the federal government to ask the US to withdraw the bounty.
Saeed's lawyer A K Dogar said the Pakistan government should ask the US to provide evidence against Saeed, the JuD chief, before acting against him.
"Arresting anyone without evidence is an open violation of the law," Dogar said.
Unlike other terrorists sought by the US, Saeed lives openly in Pakistan and has mocked the bounty offered for him, saying he is ready to face "any American court" to answer charges.
The Defa-e-Pakistan Council, a conglomerate of over 40 extremist and hardline groups cobbled together by Saeed last year, has organised protests against the US bounty across the country in recent days.
The Pakistan government has sought "concrete evidence" against the two men from the US, saying this was necessary to "proceed legally" in the matter.
Following the Mumbai attacks, India provided Pakistan several dossiers with evidence against Saeed and other members of the LeT and JuD who were linked to the terrorist assault.
Pakistan has maintained that this evidence is inadequate to prosecute Saeed.
The JuD chief was detained for nearly six months after the Mumbai incident before being freed on the orders of the Lahore high court.