New Delhi: The Pakistani government on Friday said it will challenge the grant of bail to Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi in the Lahore High Court. Lakhvi was on Thursday granted bail by an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad. The move triggered shock and indignation in India.
The LeT commander, who was due to be released today, meanwhile will continue to remain under detention at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail under the Maintenance of Public Order for three more months, the Pakistani government added.
"Lakhvi was to be freed from Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi today morning but the government detained him there for three months under the 16 MPO," Prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar said, adding the Pakistan government had also informed India about this.
Also, Azhar added, "We have prepared an appeal against the ATC (court) order and (will) file it on coming Monday."
Meanwhile, India has conveyed to Pakistan strong concerns of the government and sentiments of people on grant of bail to Lakhvi.
Despite repeated assurances, we have not seen progress in the prosecution of seven accused in anti-terrorism court in Islamabad, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
He added that the investigation by Pakistani authorities into the larger conspiracy surrounding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks has also not moved forward.
“The story of repeated postponement, adjournments, unavailability of law officers or witnesses is well documented and does not require repetition,” the MEA spokesperson told reporters.
“However, the move yesterday to grant bail to Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi has taken this saga to another level,” Akbaruddin added.
He stressed that the development makes mockery of Pakistan's commitment to fighting terror groups without making distinctions.
Lakhvi was among the seven people charged with planning and helping to carry out the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attack which left at least 166 people dead.
At the time of the 26/11 attack, Lakhvi was believed to be the operational head of the banned Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) terror group that is accused by India of carrying out the attack in its financial capital.
The news about Lakhvi's bail led to expressions of shock in India, especially as it came a day after Parliamentarians and school children across India observed two minutes silence over the Peshawar school terror attack and many also held candle light marches to denounce the killing of over 130 children.
On Wednesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pronounced that Islamabad would henceforth not differentiate between "good" terrorists and "bad" terrorists. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Sharif to condemn the attack and offered to provide all assistance.
(With agency inputs)