Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed walked free from house arrest on Thursday, shortly after a Pakistan court rejected plea for an extension of his detention and ordered for his release.
Reports state that moments after his release, Saeed said that he will gather people from across Pakistan for the "cause of Kashmir" and help the people of Kashmir secure their "freedom."
After the Pakistan court's verdict, the United States had reminded Islamabad that Saeed is a terrorist designated by the United Nations and the US. Washington had also announced a bounty of $10 million for the banned JuD leader for his involvement in terror activities.
Saeed and four of his accomplices— Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain— were detained by the Punjab government on January 31 this year for 90 days under preventative detention under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
"I was detained for 10 months only to stop my voice for Kashmir," Saeed told his supporters who gathered outside his residence to celebrate his release.
"I fight the case of Kashmiris. I will gather the people from across the country for the cause of Kashmir. And we will try to help Kashmiris get their destination of freedom," he said.
The Judicial Review Board of Punjab province comprising judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had unanimously ordered Saeed's release on the completion of his 30-day house arrest. Pakistan's Punjab government however had sought a three-month extension in his detention saying that the country may face international sanctions if the JuD was released from house arrest.
The JuD chief said that he was detained after he announced a month of solidarity for Kashmiris this January.
"I am very happy that none of the allegations against me proved as three judges of the LHC ordered my release ...India had levelled baseless allegations against me. The LHC's review board decision has proved that I am innocent," Saeed said.
Saeed also said that the United States had pressured Pakistan to detain him on India's request.
"... I was detained on the pressure of the US on the Pakistani government. The US did so on the request of India," he claimed.
The Punjab government official had told the board that the Federal finance ministry has 'some important evidence' against Saeed to justify his detention. However, the board rejected the extension plea and ordered Saeed's release.