LAHORE -  The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday told the Punjab home secretary to decide representation of Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and his four aides and submit his reply to the court at the next hearing on Sept 12.

Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi passed the order on a petition moved by Hafiz Saeed and his four aides.

Hafiz Saeed and his four aides – Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal Shahbaz, Abdur Rehman and Qazi Kashif Hussain – were detained on January 28 and their detention order expired on July 27.

The previous detention orders were issued by the Punjab government under II-EEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, but now these orders have been issued under the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order, 1960.

The petitioners, however, challenged the new orders through their counsel AK Dogar and submitted that the government was due to release them on July 27, but it again issued their detention orders. They said that the government decision was a gross violation of human rights and freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, 1973. They termed their detention an inhuman act.

Hafiz Saeed and his aides’ petition against their detention under various sections of ATA was already sub judice before the Lahore High Court. However, according to petitioners’ counsel AK Dogar, the next date of hearing was not fixed. He said he expected that his new petition against his clients’ detention under the Maintenance of Public Order, 1960, would be fixed for hearing soon after Eid holidays. The lawyer said that Punjab government’s decision to detain his clients was unlawful and without any reason. He said that imprisonment without trial and conviction was prima facie unlawful and unconstitutional.

Advocate Dogar alleged that the government had detained the petitioners to just please India and America. He said that various courts of the country had declared detention of JuD leaders illegal in the past because the government had failed to prove the charges. He told the court that a departmental representation against the detention was filed before the home secretary on Aug 3 but no action had been taken so far. He prayed to the court to set aside the impugned detention orders “being issued without lawful authority and of no legal effect”.

A law officer told the court that the home secretary was set to hear the petitioners’ representation on Sept 11. On this, Justice Naqvi adjourned the hearing of the writ petition until Sept 12, with direction to the home secretary to decide representation of the petitioners on the given date.

On January 28, the Interior Ministry had suggested the provincial government to put them under detention, saying that Jamatud Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation were engaged in certain activities which could be prejudicial to peace and security and in violation of Pakistan’s obligations to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267. The Punjab government placed both organisations in the second schedule of ATA under its section 11-D (1).