Hafiz Saeed was designated a terrorist by the U.S. Justice Department, which has a $10 million reward for his capture or killing. He was released from house arrest before dawn Friday.
After being freed, Hafiz has vowed to fight for Kashmir.
The United States has issued a statement condemning the release of Hafiz Saeed by Pakistan authorities, the mastermind of Mumbai terrorist attacks and has asked that he be rearrested and charged for his crimes.
Pakistani authorities have released a U.S.-wanted militant cleric who allegedly masterminded the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, that killed 168 people.
On Wednesday, a court in Pakistan rejected the government’s plea to extend the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed for three months and ordered his release, saying the government had failed to substantiate the charges of terrorism.
Saeed was designated a terrorist by the U.S. Justice Department, which has a $10 million reward for his capture or killing. He was released from house arrest before dawn Friday.
Saeed ran the Jamaat-ud-Dawa organization, believed to be a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group that was behind the attack in Mumbai, India.
Pakistan put Saeed and four of his aides under house arrest in Lahore in January following increased U.S. pressure on Islamabad to rein in militant groups. Saeed’s aides were released earlier.
On Thursday, India condemned the decision of the Pakistani court to release Saeed from house arrest.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.
Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.
The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.
The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.
“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”
Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.
Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.
While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.
Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.
Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.
A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.
In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.
“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”
Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)