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September 22, 2009

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Pakistani police tell Saeed to stay home police tell Saeed to stay home

THE leader of a banned Islamist group that India has accused of carrying out attacks on its financial capital late last year was again placed under house arrest yesterday.

Pakistani police prevented Hafiz Muhammad Saeed from leaving his home for Eid-al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Saeed is a founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba - the militant group New Delhi claims masterminded the commando-style assault that killed 166 people in Mumbai last November.

"We have verbal orders from the government to restrict his movement," police official Sohail Sukhera said. "We have asked him not to leave his house."

Sukhera would not specify why Saeed was being confined to his home in the eastern city of Lahore, or say for how long.

India blames Lashkar-e-Taiba for the Mumbai assault staged by 10 gunmen, nine of whom were killed. Under tremendous international pressure, Pakistan acknowledged much of the plot originated on its soil.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a press conference on Saturday that Saeed was under investigation.

"We arrest the accused only if we have evidence. I assure you, and I assure my Indian counterpart, that if there is evidence against Saeed during our investigation he will not get out of the clutches of law," Malik said.

At least seven other suspects in the Mumbai attacks have been in closed-door pretrial hearings at a court in a maximum security prison in Rawalpindi, near the capital of Islamabad. So far no charges have been filed against them.

Pakistan arrested Saeed in December after India provided a dossier on him in a rare sharing of intelligence. But in June, a Pakistani court freed Saeed from house arrest saying there was not enough evidence to hold him.


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