By: Jennifer Kim Vitale, Pace International Law Review, Executive Editor
Last November, the Indian city of Mumbai was the target of terrorist attacks allegedly led by several organized terrorist groups which resulted in the death of more than 170 people. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the leader of one of the alleged groups, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, along with others accused of being involved with the attack, were arrested in December after accusations of planning and carrying out the attacks. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is also the founder of the banned Pakistani militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which he created to fight Indian rule in Kashmir in the 1980s. Although the group was banned, it reemerged as the group, Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
On Tuesday, June 2, 2009, the Lahore High Court in Pakistan ordered the release of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. According to the New York Times, the court ordered the release of Mr. Saeed on the ground that his detention was unconstitutional. The judges ruled there was insufficient evidence to continue his detention. The defense for Hafiz Muhammad Saeed moved to dismiss the case after the Pakistani Government presented evidence that was described to be “limited and sparse” by Sajjan Gohel, Director of International Security at the Asia-Pacific Foundation in London. Mr. Gohel also stated they did not include evidence received from other countries.
India strongly condemned the ruling, contending that Pakistan is not handling the matter seriously to bring those involved in the attacks to justice. Furthermore, the ruling adds more tension to the tenuous relations between India and Pakistan, undermining any progress between these two countries. Other suspects still remain in custody.