A Pakistani court on Friday declared as “illegal” the detention of Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and ordered his release.
Justice Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi of the Islamabad High Court described as “null and void” the notifications that were issued by Islamabad’s district administration for Lakhvi’s detention.
Immediately after the order, India reacted saying it is the responsibility of the Pakistan government to take all legal measures to ensure that Lakhvi does not come out of jail
"The overwhelming evidence against 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi has not been presented properly before court by Pakistani agencies. Pakistan should realise there are no good terrorists or bad terrorists," the home ministry said in a statement
This is the second time that the same judge of the Islamabad High Court has ordered Lakhvi’s release. An earlier order of the High Court was overturned by the 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, judge Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi had suspended Lakhvi's detention under the MPO. Just before he was to be released from jail, Lakhvi was arrested 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.