Pakistan has extended by two months the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed, accused by the US of masterminding the 2008 attacks on India’s financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people, a government document reviewed by Reuters showed.
Saeed was put under house arrest in January after years of living freely in Pakistan, one of the sore points in the country’s fraying relationship with the US. His freedom had also infuriated India.
In a document marked “secret”, the government of Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab said it was ordering the extension on the recommendations of the federal government and the interior ministry in Islamabad.
Yahya Mujahid, spokesman for Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), confirmed that Saeed was among five members of the charity given an extended term of house arrest.
The Counter Terrorism Department believes Saeed’s supporters plan to “spread chaos in the country” and stage demonstrations to project Saeed as a hero, Punjab’s home department said in the document.
A campaign is being waged by Abdul Rehman Makki, believed to be Saeed’s deputy at JuD, to drum up the the support of workers.
“Transport is being arranged, arms are also being collected for show of force and for use, and if need be, against the personnel of law enforcement agencies,” the document added. “Funds are also being collected for the purpose.”