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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

26/11 plotter Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi fathers kid in jail

Harinder Baweja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 13, 2012
First Published: 00:02 IST(13/11/2012) | Last Updated: 09:13 IST(13/11/2012)

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander - second only to Hafiz Saeed - who was arrested by Pakistan for masterminding the 26/11 attacks that killed 166 in Mumbai, has fathered a child while being held on terror charges at the high-security Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, highly placed sources have revealed.

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Abu Jundal, a 26/11 plotter who was in the control room in Karachi along with Lakhvi, told intelligence officials that Lakhvi's youngest wife was allowed to visit him in jail, despite him being on trial.

Lakhvi, who has been in prison since December 7, 2008, is being "treated like a state guest and not a terrorist'', according to a senior intelligence official who was part of the team that interrogated Abu Jundal.

Jundal, who was extradited from Saudi Arabia, told Indian interrogators that Lakhvi shared this information with him when he called on him in Adiala jail to tell him that he had got married.

Lakhvi's child, now approximately two years old, is being kept a closely guarded secret even within the ranks of the LeT.

Both Lakhvi and Jundal worked in close coordination to train and arm Ajmal Kasab and the nine others who came to Mumbai through the sea route.

Although, the fourth anniversary of the Mumbai attacks coming up on November 26, Pakistan has made little headway in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice, despite constant pressure from India.

Jundal's revelations only reaffirm the belief in government circles that Lakhvi is being protected by the Pakistani establishment, the ISI and the army.

Pakistan-American terrorist David Coleman Headley had also told the National Investigation Agency that went to Chicago to interrogate him that lieutenant-general Shuja Pasha, ISI chief, had visited Lakhvi in jail.

The American government too had shared intelligence with India that Lakhvi had access to a mobile phone in jail and that he continued to run the Lashkar's operations from prison.

Last year, investigative online journal ProPublica reported that Pakistan army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had refused to confiscate Lakhvi's cellphone.

Lakhvi's importance to the Pakistani establishment can also be judged from the fact that he is being guarded by LeT soldiers, even though he is housed in a high-security jail, where the terror trial is also being conducted.

For four years now, Pakistan has refused to even give Lakhvi's voice samples, needed to establish that he controlled the Mumbai attacks from a control room that had been set up in Karachi.

When contacted for a comment on the special treatment being given to his client, Lakhvi's lawyer Khwaja Haris Ahmad said, "I have no information about his child or any facilities. As far as I'm concerned, the trial is being conducted within the jail. Abu Jundal was arrested after the trial commenced and he is not part of the court record."

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