Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has challenged the Pakistan government’s decision to ban media coverage of his outlawed organisations Jammat-ud-Dawah and its front Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation in the Lahore High Court. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority which comes the Federal Information Ministry on November 2 had asked all broadcasters to refrain from covering 72 banned groups including LeT, JuD and FIF under UN restriction.
Saeed through his counsel Advocate A K Dogar filed a petition in the Lahore High Court yesterday, challenging the ban on his organisations. Justice Aminuddin Khan took up the petition of Saeed and allowed Saeed’s counsel to argue. Advocate Dogar told the court that JuD and FIF were charitable organisations and had “no nexus with the banned Lashkar-i-Taiba”.
He said JuD has established 142 schools and four universities in different cities of the country. He said PEMRA had ordered all Pakistani TV channels to ban coverage of JuD and FIF “which is illegal”. “Both organisations of his client (Saeed) are mentioned in the list of proscribed organizations. The JuD and FIF are mentioned in a list circulated by UN but it is clear from the document that they are not the proscribed organisations,” Dogar said.
He said that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali had made it clear that JuD was not a proscribed organisation. He pleaded the court to set aside the impugned directive of PEMRA for being “unlawful”. The LHC issued notices to the federal government and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to submit parawise comments on Saeed’s petition on next hearing.
The judge adjourned the hearing till December 8. The UN declared JuD a terror organisation and also individually designated Saeed as a terrorist in December 2008. The US has already put USD 10 million bounty on Saeed’s head. Saeed, who orchestrated the November, 2008, Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people were killed, roams around freely in Pakistan despite being a designated terrorist and has made many anti-India remarks and speeches.