JuD leader Hafeez Saeed walks free from house arrest

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Hafiz Saeed is showered with flower petals as he walks to court before a Pakistani court ordered his release from house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza

LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) leader Hafiz Saeed, seen as the mastermind of a 2008 militant assault in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai in which 166 people were killed, has been released from house arrest, his religious charity said on Friday.
Saeed has been under house arrest since January after living freely in Pakistan for many years, a sore point in Pakistan’s relationship with the United States and neighbor India.
“He is free, we are happy. Thank God there is no more restriction,” Nadeem Awan, a spokesman for Islamist charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), told Reuters.
A court on Wednesday ordered an end to his house arrest.
Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks in which 10 gunmen attacked targets in India’s largest city, including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a train station in a rampage that lasted several days.
The violence brought nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India to the brink of war.
Habibullah Salafi, another JuD official, said supporters were arriving at Saeed’s house to celebrate ahead of Friday prayers.
“Today, he will lead Friday prayers at All Qadsia,” Salafi added, referring to the headquarters of the JuD.
The United States had offered a $10 million bounty for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed, who heads the JuD.
The United States says the JUD is a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group. – Reuters

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