A Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks today reserved its judgement on a bail plea filed by LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and is expected to deliver it at the next hearing on August 7.
Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan, who is conducting the trial within the heavily-guarded Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for security reasons, reserved his decision on the bail plea after hearing arguments from the defence lawyers and prosecution.
The prosecution contended that Lakhvi, described by Pakistani investigators as the mastermind of the Mumbai carnage, should not be freed as there was adequate evidence linking him to the attacks.
The defence lawyers argued that the charges framed against Lakhvi were based on dossiers containing the findings of investigations by Indian security agencies and claimed that there was no direct evidence connecting him to the 2008 attacks.
They also said Lakhvi had never faced such allegations and had a clean "track record."
The defence lawyers also claimed that the case against Lakhvi and the six other suspects had been built up by Pakistan due to pressure from India and other foreign countries.
They noted that the case had dragged on for a year and eight months and that only two witnesses had testified during this time.
The prosecution has nearly 200 witnesses and the trial is expected to go on for a long time. In view of this, Lakhvi should be freed on bail, the defence lawyers said.
The defence also noted that the prosecution had filed only three interim chargesheets and is yet to file the final chargesheet. It cited this as another reason for Lakhvi to be granted bail.
On the completion of arguments, Judge Awan adjourned the case to August 7. He is expected to give his decision on Lakhvi's bail plea at the next hearing.
Lakhvi and the other suspects have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act, Pakistan Penal Code and a cyber-crimes law.
They have been charged with planning, financing and facilitating the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.