26/11 plotter Lakhvi's detention order suspended, India slams Pakistan

In what may further upset India, the Islamabad High Court has issued an interim order to cancel detention notification of 2008 Mumbai attacks accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, paving the way for his release out of jail.

26/11 plotter Lakhvi's detention order suspended, India slams Pakistan

Islamabad: In another move set to enrage India, the Islamabad High Court on Monday issued an interim order to cancel detention notification of 2008 Mumbai attacks accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, paving the way for his release out of jail.

However, the 26//11 attacks accused cannot walk out of the jail, until the order is signed by a judge.

The move comes just a couple of days after Lakhvi, the 26/11 attacks mastermind on Friday challenged his detention under a public security order in the high court.

Earlier, the Pakistan government had rejected his plea seeking release.

Meanwhile, upset with the detention order cancellation of 26/11 mastermind, India's Ministry of External Affairs has summoned Pakistan's High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

In its statement, the MEA said, "Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned to Ministry of External Affairs by Foreign Secy Sujatha Singh this afternoon." 

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, giving more information, on Twitter, informed that India's Foreign Secy has summoned the Pakistan's Envoy. 

India further raised its concerns both in New Delhi and Islamabad, while both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Congress slammed Pakistan.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh conveyed to Basit "strong concern at the lack of effective action by Pakistan`s prosecuting authorities after the Anti-Terrorism Court ordered the release of internationally designated terrorist Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, whose involvement in the Mumbai terror attack is well known," an external affairs ministry statement said.

She told Basit that India expected Pakistan to abide by the commitment that expeditious steps would be taken to bring all those responsible for the heinous acts of terrorism in Mumbai to justice.

"It was extremely disturbing that despite the assurances we have been receiving over the last 6 years, and the recent tragedies in Pakistan, there seems to be no end in sight to Pakistan remaining a safe-haven for well known terror groups," the statement quoted Sujatha Singh as telling Basit.

Coming out of the meeting, Basit refused to comment."Ask them (the external affairs ministry)," he told reporters.

Former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said the failure by authorities in Pakistan to keep Lakhvi in jail was a betrayal of its claim to fight terror.

"This was only a trial, keeping him (Lakhvi) in jail was the least we expected. It is disappointing, and a complete betrayal of their claim of fighting terror," Khurshid told a news channel.

Congress leader Rashid Alvi said it proves that Pakistan has not learnt its lesson.

"It shows Pakistan is not concerned about how terrorism is spreading. Children were killed on their soil, but they still have not learnt their lesson," he said.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi alleged that Lakhvi's case was that of lax prosecution and some even believe it was "collusive prosecution". 

"Pakistan must realise that approach to terrorism cannot be selective ---one for India and the other for Pakistan," Singhvi said terming terror as a "Frankenstein monster".

BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao echoed the sentiment.

"The manner in which the Pakistan government has failed to ensure Lakhvi remains in detention, and the manner in which he was allowed to get bail shows Pakistan is not serious about fighting terror," he said.

Another BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said: "Pakistan is differentiating between good and bad terrorism. The terror which strikes its neighbour is good terrorism for them."

Pakistan's dilly-dallying over the trial of seven Pakistani suspects accused of planning and executing 26/11 carnage in Mumbai remains to be one of the most bitter irritants between the two neighbours.

After being granted bail on December 18 by Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi, Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Lakhvi was put under preventive detention for three more months under Public Maintenance Order in Adiala Jail where the trial is being held.

After the granting of bail to Lakhvi triggered sharp criticism from India, the Pakistan government had sought to defend the move by calling it a “technical error” and promised to challenge the bail in a high court.

However, it took the Pakistani government more than a week to collect a copy of the court's bail order that was needed to file the appeal.

Talking to the PTI, prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar said that the government will file the appeal against the bail in the high court soon only after the superior courts' two-week holidays end by the first week of January".

Hence, the Pak government has failed to challenge against the bail so far.

However, the action on Lakhvi's challenge to his detention was quick as according to an anti-terrorism court judge, the courts take detention cases even in holidays.

Asked about how Lakhvi filed the petition in the Islamabad High Court as the superior courts are closed for a two-week winter break till January 8, Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi said, "Detention is a matter of urgent nature and the courts take such cases during the holidays as well."

Just a couple of days after the heinous Taliban massacre of Peshawar school kids, the Pakistan ATC had granted bail to Lakhvi and six others accused of planning, financing and helping to execute the carnage in Mumbai in 2008.

Lamenting the loss of lives of innocent school children in Peshawar school attack, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif had also pledged to crack down on terrorists in a speedy manner and hence had lifted the moratorium on death penalty in terror case.

However, the granting of bail to Lakhvi and now even cancellation of his detention, negates Pakistan's power-packed vows made to eliminate terrorism from its soil that keeps on popping its ugly head to strike its own people. 

Lakhvi was arrested by Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and has since been serving jail in Rawalpindi.

While Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed masterminded the Mumbai terror attack, it was Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who was the handler of all ten gunmen who came ashore Mumbai that fateful night and was also in touch with them throughout the massacre.

(With agency inputs)

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