Pak govt orders detention of Lakhvi for 3 more months

  • Harinder Baweja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2014 16:10 IST

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a key planner of the 2008 Mumbai attack, was on Friday detained by Pakistani authorities for three more months, a day after he was granted bail by a court that caused an outrage in India.

"I have just learnt that my client has been detained by the govt under section 16 of the Maintenance of public order act," Lakhvi's lawyer Rizwan Abbasi told HT.

The order of detention was handed over to Adiala jail superintendent before Lakhvi's counsel could show his bail order to jail authorities.

The prosecution chief further said that the government had decided in principle to challenge the trial court's decision in the high court.

"We have prepared an appeal against the ATC order and file it on coming Monday," prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI.

India was outraged after the bail granted to Lakhvi and Lashkar-e-Toiba military commander and asked for his bail order to be challenged.

Lakhvi was a senior member of the Lashkar hierarchy, second only to 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. He was arrested in December 2008, soon after the serial attacks rocked Mumbai.

Lakhvi and six others had filed bail applications on Wednesday even as lawyers were on strike condemning the terrorist attack on an army-run school in Peshawar.

Lakhvi's lawyer told reporters in Islamabad his client was given bail due to lack of evidence even though Ajmal Kasab, one of the 10 terrorists who came to Mumbai from Karachi via the sea route, conspirators David Coleman Headley and Abu Jundal gave graphic details of Lakhvi's exact role.

According to the prosecution, the anti-terrorism court in Pakistan gave bail to Lakhvi despite enough evidence against, PTI reported.

The outrage in India following Lakhvi’s bail underscored its deep distrust of Pakistan’s judiciary. “Pakistan is not serious about ensuring justice … the case should be handed over to India,” said Smita Salaskar, wife of Mumbai cop Vijay Salaskar who died in the ghastly siege.

Lakhvi was arrested in Pakistan in December 2008 and lodged in a Rawalpindi prison since his indictment next year. But the failure to advance the trial over the past five years stoked fears Pakistan was trying to stonewall the case citing inadequate evidence.

The trial of Lakhvi, who is among seven Pakistani nationals accused of planning and abetting the brazen attack on Mumbai in 2008, has never taken off in right earnest. Most court sittings were consistently adjourned on one pretext or another.

In April this year, it came to a standstill because the judge feared for his life following the murder of special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar. “The judiciary was wary because followers of the Lashkar-e-Taiba often assemble in the courtroom in large numbers,” said Sartaj Aziz, foreign and security adviser to Sharif.

Zulfiqar’s successor let the trail go cold because he was apparently too busy with the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

A lawyer who dissociated himself from the case said the dossier provided by India was not admissible evidence under Pakistani law, contravening reports from investigators that they have found substantial proof to connect the LeT to the Mumbai terror attack.

At the time, the Pakistani chargesheet stated that “there are sufficient oral, documentary, circumstantial and scientific evidence linking the accused with planning, preparation and execution of the attacks”.

(With inputs from PTI)

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