Days after Pakistan was criticsed by the world community for the release on bail of alleged 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the Islamabad high court on Monday set a two-month deadline for an anti-terror court to conclude the Mumbai attacks trial.
A two-judge bench of the high court warned that it would accede to the Pakistan government's plea to cancel the bail granted to LeT operations commander Lakhvi if the anti-terror court failed to complete the trial of the seven suspects within the deadline.
The bench was hearing the government's plea for cancelling 55-year-old Lakhvi's bail.
After the arguments by the prosecution and defence lawyers, the bench said: "This court gives two months to the trial court to conclude the Mumbai case and adjourns this case (the plea to cancel the bail of Lakhvi) till then."
Prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI after the hearing that the bench also said in its order that the court would cancel Lakhvi's bail if his lawyers adopted any delaying tactics.
"The court is pending this case for a period of two months till the conclusion of the Mumbai case. If it is reported that the Mumbai case could not be concluded (in two months) because of delaying tactics of the defence lawyers this court will cancel Lakhvi's bail," the bench remarked.
It was responding to the arguments of the prosecution that the Mumbai case had been inordinately delayed because of the delaying tactics of defence lawyers.
Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq of Lahore high court had on April 9 suspended the detention of Lakhvi under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law as the government failed to present evidence against him in the court.
The government managed to keep Lakhvi behind bars under the MPO for nearly four months since the anti-terror court granted him bail on December 19 last year.
On April 10, Lakhvi was released from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi following the Lahore High Court's order.
India lodged a strong protest over his release, saying the "negative development" reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists.
Lakhvi, a close relative of LeT founder and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009.
He and the six others -- Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum -- have been charged with planning, financing and executing the Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.