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Islamabad Court Frees Mumbai Attacks Suspect

by Aamir Iqbal
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Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi’s lawyer claims his client cannot be held in custody after he has been granted bail.

The Islamabad High Court on Monday cancelled the detention order issued by the Government of Pakistan for Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terrors attacks in Mumbai, according to the accused’s lawyer.

“The honorable judge of the Islamabad High Court, while accepting my client’s appeal, issued orders against the detention the Government of Pakistan was applying on my client,” said Raja Rizwan Abbasi, Lakhvi’s lawyer. “In today’s hearing, I informed the court that no further detention was justified after bail had been granted to the accused,” he said, adding, “Justice Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi agreed with my point and issued orders to the government to end my client’s detention.”

Lakhvi is accused of planning the siege on India’s commercial capital that left 166 people dead and was blamed on the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Relations between Pakistan and India worsened dramatically after the Mumbai carnage, in which 10 gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and a Jewish center.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told lawmakers after the bail order that it came “as a shock to all those who believe in humanity world over.” New Delhi has long said there is evidence that “official agencies” in Pakistan were involved in plotting the attack. Islamabad denies the charge but LeT’s charitable arm Jamaat-ud-Dawah, seen as a front for the militant group, operates openly in the country. In a midnight speech on Dec. 25, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said no banned groups would be allowed to operate in Pakistan under new names, as per the consensus national action plan against terrorism.

Government prosecutor Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry announced on Dec. 24 that he would file a petition against Lakhvi’s bail this week. Until the government issues orders for Lakhvi’s release in compliance with the court ruling, he will remain in custody in the high-security Adiala prison in Rawalpindi.

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