Admitting that they are "facing a tough time in the courts," Asif related that the LHC has asked for the evidence that the Home Department used to extend the detention. "There has never been a case against them," he noted, "and we have no criminal record of these gentlemen."

208236 5/22/2009 5:41:00 AM 09LAHORE99 Consulate Lahore CONFIDENTIAL O R 220541Z MAY 09FM AMCONSUL LAHORETO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4041INFO CIA WASHDCJOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DCAMEMBASSY KABUL AMCONSUL KARACHI AMEMBASSY LONDON AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI NSC WASHINGTON DCAMCONSUL PESHAWAR SECDEF WASHINGTON DCUSCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FLAMCONSUL LAHORE C O N F I D E N T I A L LAHORE 000099

E.O. 12958: DECL: 5/19/2019 TAGS: PTER, PGOV, PK

SUBJECT: PUNJAB HOME SECRETARY FEARS HAFIZ SAEED'S RELEASE

CLASSIFIED BY: Bryan Hunt, Principal Officer, Consulate Lahore, U.S. Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Summary: Punjab Home Secretary Nazim Hassan Asif warned that a full bench of the Lahore High Court could free Jamaatud Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed on May 21. He lamented that he lacked sufficient evidence to support the detention orders under which the Home Department has extended their detention. He noted that the tribunal investigating the March 2 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team has blamed him, but attributed his shortcomings to the chaos of Governor's Rule. Asif also reported that he sent a team to south Punjab to tell the police that the province will not tolerate "no-go areas." End Summary.

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JUD Leaders May Go Free

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2. (C) Punjab Home Secretary Nazim Hassan Asif warned poleconoff May 18 that the Lahore High Court (LHC) may free Jamaatud Dawa (JUD) leaders Hafiz Saeed and Col (ret) Nazeer at a May 21 hearing. He recounted that the DCO had first detained the JUD leadership for 30 days, after which the Home Department extended their confinement for 60 days under the Maintenance of Public Order regulations. When the Home Department sought to renew the 60-day detention on May 5, the Review Board, comprised of three High Court judges, released two operatives (Ameer Hamza and Mufti Abdul Rehman) and extended by 60 days Saeed and Nazeer's incarceration, he continued. However, a full High Court bench will hear on May 21 a challenge to the Home Department's original justification.

3. (C) Asif admitted that "we are facing a tough time in the courts." He related that the LHC has asked for the evidence that the Home Department used to extend the detention. "There has never been a case against them," he noted, "and we have no criminal record of these gentlemen." Asif said that he has warned the Federal Secretary of Interior and the Attorney General of the possibility that the court will release Saeed and Nazeer.

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JUD Remains Shut Down

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4. (C) Asif confirmed that JUD has remained shut, and dismissed rumors that the organization has resurfaced in the relief camps. He recalled that the province had dodged a potential minefield in its takeover of the social services that JUD had previously provided. "We even entered the Muridke [headquarters] with finesse; it could have been Lal Masjid," he contended. He clarified that Punjab has created an endowment fund to sustain JUD's education, health and madrassah-related services.

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After Rough March, Punjab Quiet in April and May

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5. (C) Asif acknowledged that the political stability brought by the restoration of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has contributed to the relative quiet enjoyed by Punjab since the March 2 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and March 30 assault on the Manawan police training center. Regarding the cricket team, he confirmed that the tribunal convened to examine the security arrangements will soon release its findings, which partially blames him. Asif contended that Governor's Rule, which had occurred in March, had left him out of the loop and created chaos in the security apparatus. The investigations by "outside agencies" into the nature of the two attacks have continued to establish links, he noted.

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South Punjab Remains A Concern

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6. (C) Asif also highlighted a new initiative to re-establish the police presence in south Punjab areas where extremist madrassahs have increased. "We will not tolerate any no-go areas," he stressed. He briefed that a "small team" met with local police in south Punjab districts during the week of May 10 to convey the backing of the provincial government. "We wanted to give the local people confidence to go to those places," he explained. "We made the policy very clear to them that they should not hesitate."

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Comment: End of Governor's Rule Brings Stability

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7. (C) The return of Shahbaz Sharif after an unprecedented, violent March has helped re-establish security and stability in Punjab. The move to instill confidence in the south Punjab authorities could herald enhanced official attention to the poorest, least secure area in the province. But the very fact that the Home Secretary acknowledges "no-go areas" in the southern districts indicates the extent to which police have felt threatened by radicals.

HUNT