Pak court extends detention of 26/11 plotter Lakhvi

  • AFP, Islamabad
  • Updated: Jan 02, 2015 01:37 IST

A Pakistani court sent Thursday the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks to jail for two weeks in the latest round of a tussle over his detention that has worsened ties with India.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused over the terror siege in Mumbai, was granted bail on December 18 by an anti-terror court but authorities later detained him under a public order law which was suspended by Islamabad high court on Monday.

On Tuesday, police told a lower court that Lakhvi was accused in the kidnapping of a man six and half years ago, with the judge granting police his custody for two days to investigate.

The same court Thursday sent him for a further two weeks to Rawalpindi's Adiala jail, defence lawyer Rizwan Abbasi told AFP.

The Mumbai attacks left 166 people dead and were planned by banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). India has long seethed at Pakistan's failure either to hand over or prosecute those accused of planning and organising the violence.

Lakhvi, 54, and other six accused - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum -- have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack that took place on November 26, 2008.

Lakhvi was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the case. The trial has been underway since 2009.

The decision to grant Lakhvi bail on December 18 drew an angry response from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, worsening tense ties with India.

It was also seen as an embarrassment for Pakistan's government, which has promised to crack down on all terror groups -- including those that target arch-rival India -- in the aftermath of a Taliban school massacre that killed 150 people, mostly children.

The government also approached the country's Supreme Court Thursday to reinstate Lakhvi's detention under the public order law.

"The federal government through the office of attorney general today challenged that cancellation of detention order in Supreme Court of Pakistan," government prosecutor Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry told AFP.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a charitable organisation seen as a front for LeT, operates openly in the country and its leaders frequently appear on television delivering fiery speeches against India.

'Unnecessary hype'

Pakistan, meanwhile, said it was vigorously pursuing the 2008 Mumbai attack case and described as "unfortunate" the "hype" created on bail being granted to Lakhvi.

"The case is sub-judice. It is unfortunate that an unnecessary hype was created on grant of bail to Lakhvi. These are legal matters and media trials serve no purpose. We should wait for the outcome of the case. The case is progressing well," foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.

She also accused India of not sharing findings of Samjhauta Express terrorist attack probe with Pakistan.

"I may also draw your attention to a totally different situation with regard to the Samjhauta Express terrorist attack in which close 50 Pakistanis were killed. The investigations and the confession of the mastermind of the attack, Swami Aseemanad, pointed to the involvement of Indian military officers and some organisations linked to major political parties."

"Yet, Aseemanad was granted bail on August 28, 2014. Although the Samjhota Express attack happened more than two years before Mumbai attack, it is very disappointing that India has not shared findings of... investigations despite assurances at the highest level," Aslam said.

She, however, added Pakistan did not want to draw comparisons and "does not take a similar approach".

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