Pakistan suspends custody of 'Mumbai plotter'

Islamabad court orders end to detention of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi who is accused of masterminding 2008 attacks in India.

    Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was arrested in February 2009 for his alleged role in Mumbai attacks [File: Reuters]
    Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was arrested in February 2009 for his alleged role in Mumbai attacks [File: Reuters]

    A Pakistani court has suspended the detention notification of one of the alleged masterminds of the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.

    On Monday, Islamabad High Court overturned the decision of Pakistan government which had challenged Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi's bail orders by an anti-terrorism court.

    Lakhvi was bailed out on December 18 by an anti-terrorism court, prompting quick condemnation from India and threatening to hinder attempts to patch up relations between the two countries.

    A day later Pakistan's government extended Lakhvi's detention under the Maintenance of Public Order law, which was challenged by him on December 26.

    India has summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to protest against the court order.

    "We expect the government of Pakistan to abide by the commitment conveyed to us, including at the highest level, that expeditious steps would be taken to bring all those responsible for the heinous acts of terrorism in Mumbai to justice,” India’s foreign secretary said in a statement.

    "This case is a tug of war between the executive and judiciary, because it is very sensitive. It has to do with relationships with India and how the government is serious about combating the so-called terrorism," said Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from Islamabad.

    "The government can now go to the Suprime Court and keep him in jail."

    Mumbai attacks

    Lakhvi was believed to be the operational chief of the banned Pakistani armed group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) that was blamed for one of India's worst carnage in recent years. During the 60-hour rampage in 2008, a group of gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and a Jewish centre in Mumbai.

    The sole surviving gunman, Ajmal Kasab who has since been executed, had identified Lakhvi as the mastermind. Since then, Lakhvi has been held in jail in the city of Rawalpindi.

    Lakhvi was arrested in February 2009 and was indicted along with six others in November of the same year for planning and helping to carry out the attacks.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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