Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is among seven Pakistanis accused of planning and executing the 26/11 attacks. Military commander of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Lakhvi was instrumental in planning the terror strike along with Hafiz Saeed.
Lakhvi obtained bail from a Pakistani anti-terror court on Thursday, six years after his arrest in 2008, for “lack of evidence”. However, graphic accounts of his exact role were detailed not only by 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab but also by Pakistani-American conspirator David Coleman Headley and India-born Abu Jundal, who was present in a Karachi control room along with Lakhvi. The two were part of a team that directed the ten terrorists through the three days Mumbai was under siege.
Kasab, who was hanged by Indian authorities in 2012 following a trial, told interrogators he was recruited by “Zaki chacha”, alias Lakhvi. The military commander, according to Kasab, told them they were being sent to attack a city that was India’s financial and economic strength.
In a chilling admission, Kasab said “Zaki chacha” told them to keep killing till they were alive. He also revealed that Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed divided the ten terrorists into five pairs and assigned targets in Mumbai. Kasab was responsible for 37 deaths at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
More incriminating evidence of Lakhvi’s role came from Jundal. Both were present in the control room from where they watched the attack on TV and gave precise instructions of when to fire and whom to kill. After his arrest in Saudi Arabia and his subsequent handover to India, Jundal identified Lakhvi’s voice on the terror tapes in which they and other handlers can be heard coordinating the attacks.
Headley’s testimony to a team of NIA investigators helped pile further evidence against Lakhvi. Among the important revelations are details of how Lakhvi wanted Headley to explore entry to Mumbai from Taj Hotel’s vicinity and the fact that his trips to the city — when he recced the sites that were ultimately targeted — were cleared by “Zaki and Hafiz Saeed”.