Pakistan Court Orders Release of Cleric Wanted by U.S. for Terrorism

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Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks and the leader of the terrorist group Jamaat-ud-Dawah, has been released from the Pakistani House arrest and will be able to venture outside from Thursday.

Hafiz Saeed - the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charity said by the USA to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group - has been under house arrest since January.

The Punjab government had sought a three-month extension in Saeed's detention but the request was turned down by the judicial review board. Last month, the board had allowed 30-day extension to the detention of Saeed which will expire tomorrow.

Saeed may walk out free in a couple of days if the government does not detain him in any other case.

In the recent development, a Pakistani court has announced the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks will be released from the house arrest in Pakistan.

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Responding to a question, the State Department was quick to express its displeasure over the potential release of Saeed from house arrest. The other four aids have already been set free when the court had no grounds to extend their arrests. It had submitted before the review board that release of Saeed could lead to the imposition of global sanctions on Pakistan.

Saeed has denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, during which a 10-member LeT team killed 166 people when they targeted two hotels, a Jewish centre and a railway station. On January 31, Saeed and his four aides - Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain.

The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah head, who carries a bounty of Dollars 10 million announced by the U.S. for his role in terror activities, has been under detention since January.

The Nariman House in Mumbai following the November 2008 terrorist attack.

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