Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: A Bench of the Lahore High Court, hearing a petition against the house arrest of Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed was on Wednesday told by the Pakistan government’s senior-most lawyer that the evidence against him could not be produced in an open court, and that the group’s alleged involvement in the Mumbai attack was a reason for their detention.

The proceedings were adjourned to May 30.

Attorney-General Latif Khosa told the three-judge bench that the government had enough material against Mr. Saeed and another detained JuD leader Col. (retd.) Nazir Ahmed, who is a co-petitioner.

Mr. Khosa requested the bench for a meeting in chambers so that he could share the evidence with the judges.

He said the JuD leaders were detained on the recommendation of the United Nations.

Though the government was not entirely happy about it, he said, their detention was in the country’s larger interest; and after 9/11, the government had to take such “critical steps.”

The Attorney-General said the alleged involvement of the Jamat-ud-Dawa in the Mumbai attack had compelled Pakistan to detain them.

At this point, lawyer for the petitioners, A.K. Dogar, asked the government to arrest the “real” perpetrators. He said four other JuD leaders, who had been detained along with Mr. Saeed and Col. Ahmed on the same grounds, had been released by a detention review board, and asked why the government was reluctant to free the remaining two. He also accused the UN of bias against Muslims.

He had earlier argued that the detention was illegal, as the Maintenance of Public Order, the Act under which he was being held, could not be invoked in this case.

The lawyer also argued that the U.N.’s designation did not demand Mr. Saeed’s arrest.

Kasab’s statement sent

Meanwhile, in an interview to Express 24/7, Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said India last week sent Pakistan the statement by Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab,’ the lone surviving gunman, as requested by the Pakistani government.

It was written up in Hindi, and a translated copy was expected on Thursday, Mr. Malik said. Pakistan has instituted proceeding against five Pakistani suspects in the case, which is being heard in a specially designated anti-terror court at the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.