A Pakistani court today ordered the release from house arrest of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 26 November 2008 attack on Mumbai that left 166 people dead.
Saeed, chief of the terrorist outfit Jamat-ud-Dawa, was put under house arrest in January following pressure from the United States, Pakistan's partner in its fight with warring terror groups.
A judicial review board of Pakistan's Punjab province, however, turned down government's request for an extension of his confinement, stating there are no grounds for it and ordered the release of the 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind.
The board rejected the government's plea to extend Saeed's detention for another three months and ordered his release. The board had in October agreed to a month's extension of Saeed's house arrest and the term is due to expire next week, The Indian Express reported.
"The government is ordered to release JuD chief Hafiz Saeed if he is not wanted in any other case," the board said.
Saeed and his four aides - Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain - were detained by the Punjab government on 31 January for 90 days under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and the Fourth Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
Saeed's four aides were set free in the last week of October.
India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to re-investigate the Mumbai terror attack case and also demanded trial of Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in the light of evidence it had provided to Islamabad. Ten LeT militants killed 166 people and wounded dozens in Mumbai in November 2008. Nine of the attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was caught.
Kasab was executed after a court found him guilty and handed down a death sentence.