Lahore High Court. Photograph:( WION )
The Lahore High Court today gave a deadline of 15 days to the Pakistan government to explain why Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's outfit JuD and its charity wing had been banned and their accounts frozen.
The court order came during a petition filed by Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Saeed yesterday, challenging a notification of the interior ministry of Pakistan to ban his social welfare activities.
Saeed filed the petition through his counsel Advocate A K Dogar.
He submitted to the Lahore High Court (LHC) that the interior ministry on February 10 had issued the notification related to freezing bank accounts and taking over assets associated with the JuD and Falah-i-Insaaniyat Foundation (FIF) under the Anti-Terrorism (amendment) Ordinance 2018.
The LHC today ordered the federal government to submit its reply in court by March 29 on why the organisation and its charity wing had been banned and their accounts frozen, Dawn News reported.
The petitioner alleged that the government of Pakistan had acted under the pressure of foreign powers, including the US and India, the report said.
He contended that Pakistan is a sovereign independent state and makes its own laws to govern its citizens.
He added that if there was a conflict between the laws of the land and any provision of the United Nations Security Council Act, 1948, the law of the land shall prevail, it added.
The FIF owns 369 ambulances, helped 72,000 persons to charity hospitals and treated 600,000 patients only in 2017, Saeed said.
He pleaded the court to declare the impugned notification of the interior ministry null and void with regard to taking over the assets of the organisations.
Separately, Saeed, last week challenged the presidential ordinance under which his group has been banned for being on the watch-list of the United Nations in the Islamabad High Court.
President Mamnoon Hussain last month promulgated an ordinance amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 with regards to the proscription of terrorist individuals and organisations to include entities listed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) - in a move to declare Hafiz Saeed-linked JuD and FIF as proscribed groups.
Saeed, who in November last year was set free from a 300-day-long house arrest, has been repeatedly accused by the US and India of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the US and UN over his alleged role in the Mumbai attacks.
JuD is considered by the US and India to be a front for LeT, the militant group blamed for the attacks.