India summons Pak envoy, Islamabad must keep Lakhvi in jail

  • HT Correspondent and Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 13, 2015 19:57 IST

India summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner and lodged a strong protest on Friday against a Pakistani court order to release LeT terrorist and Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, saying it was Islamabad's responsibility to ensure that Lakhvi
does not come out of jail.

The officiating Foreign Secretary Anil Wadhwa summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to South Block and conveyed India's unhappiness over the order in strong words. Wadhwa is officiating as the Foreign Secretary in absence of S Jaishankar, who is travelling with the Prime Minister.

The matter was also "raised at high levels" in Pakistan

The Islamabad high court declared the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander's detention as "illegal" and ordered his immediate release. Justice Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi described the notifications that were issued by Islamabad’s district administration for Lakhvi’s detention as "null and void".

"All documents related to his involvement in the Mumbai attack case have not been presented in Pakistani courts. Hence the court has ordered his release," minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju told the reporters in New Delhi.

Rijiju said: "We want that the Pakistan government should take this matter seriously and take steps to ensure that he does not come out of jail".

The home ministry urged Pakistan to "properly present" the "overwhelming evidence against Lakhvi regarding his role in the criminal conspiracy leading to the Mumbai attack" in the Pakistani court by the Pakistani agencies.

"It is the responsibility of the Pakistan government to take all legal measures to ensure that Lakhvi does not come out of jail. Pakistan should realise that there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists, a fact which has been globally accepted," a home ministry spokesperson said in New Delhi.

Qureshi accepted 55-year-old Lakhvi's appeal filed against his third time detention orders and asked for his immediate release.

This is the second time that Qureshi has ordered Lakhvi's release. An earlier order of the HC was overturned by the country's Supreme Court in January, which said the high court's decision was rushed.

On December 18 last year, the anti-terrorism court conducting the Mumbai attacks trial granted bail to Lakhvi but authorities subsequently detained him under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law after the development sparked angry reactions from India and the US.

However, Qureshi suspended Lakhvi's detention under the MPO. Just before he was to be released from jail, Lakhvi was rearrested on the charge of kidnapping an Afghan national several years ago.

Lakhvi, currently being held at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail, and six other men have been charged with planning, financing and executing the assault on India’s financial hub in November 2008 that killed 166 and injured hundreds.

Lakhvi, along with Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum, has been in detention since February 2009.

(With PTI and IANS inputs)

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