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Pak extends detention of JuD chief

January 11, 2009 18:57 IST

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Pakistani authorities have extended by two months the detention of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and seven other activists of the front organisation of Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images], blamed for the Mumbai [Images] terrorist attacks.

A spokesman for the Punjab government told reporters that the province's home department had on Saturday extended the detention of Saeed and the seven other JuD leaders by 60 days.

Saeed and other Jamaat leaders were placed under house arrest for a month on December 11 last year, after the United Nations Security Council listed the group as a front for the LeT. Saeed's home in Johar Town area of Lahore [Images] was declared a 'sub-jail'.

The Jamaat leaders have been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance, which allows a person to be held for up to 90 days. Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar told reporters last month that Saeed and other militant leaders detained by Pakistani authorities could not be tried in the absence of evidence against them.

The Punjab government spokesman also said 10 schools and 18 dispensaries run by the Jamaat in the province had been taken over by authorities. Seven Jamaat publications had been banned and all copies had been confiscated, he said.

Among the other Jamaat leaders whose detention was extended are Colonel (retired) Nazir Ahmed, Amir Hamza, Yasin Baloch, Mufti Abdur Rahman and Qazi Niaz.

Though Pakistani authorities have detained Jamaat leaders, sealed the group's offices across the country and frozen its bank accounts, local media reports have described the measures as 'half-hearted'.

The reports have said Saeed, also the leader of the LeT, had been allowed to leave his home and that the Jamaat's sprawling headquarters at Muridke near Lahore was still fully operational.

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