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Lakhvi set to walk free, India fumes

Despite strong protests from India and mindful of the condemnation it could have from other nations, Pakistan may allow Lashkar-e-Taiba Zakir ur Rehman Lakhvi to walk free. According to agency reports from Islamabad, Mumbai attacks mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, whose detention under a public security order was suspended by a Pakistani court, submitted his Rs 1 million surety bond on Monday and is likely to be released anytime now.

“We have submitted the surety bond worth Rs 1 million in the court,” Lakhvi’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi told PTI, adding that he is likely to be released from Adiala Jail anytime now. Asked about Islamabad High Court’s ruling suspending Lakhvi’s detention order, Abbasi said, “The judge has directed Lakhvi to appear in person in every hearing of the trial court (in the Mumbai attacks case) after his release.” 

An official source said that some activists of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) had gathered outside Adiala Jail to welcome Lakhvi upon his release. Anti-Terrorism Court Judge in Islamabad Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi had on December 18 granted bail to Lakhvi in the Mumbai attacks case citing lack of evidence against him, but before he could be released from jail, the government detained him for three more months under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) in Adiala Jail where the trial is being held.

Lakhvi and other six accused - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum - were allegedly involved in planning and executing the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead. Lakhvi was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the case. The trial has been underway since 2009.

Meanwhile in New Delhi, High Commissioner of Pakistan Abdul Basit on Monday afternoon was summoned to the External Affairs Ministry by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who conveyed that India expected Pakistan to abide by its previous commitment given to New Delhi that expeditious steps will be taken to bring all those responsible for the heinous acts of terrorism in Mumbai to justice. 

India said, it is extremely disturbing that despite the assurances given by Pakistan over the last six years and the recent tragedies in neighbouring country, there seems to be no end in sight to Pakistan remaining a safe-haven for well known terror groups. Pakistan had assured India that it would appeal against Lakhvi’s bail in the Supreme Court, but that was yet to happen. 

Lakhvi was granted bail by the Anti-Terrorist Court on the grounds that the prosecution did not have evidence to prove Lakhvi’s involvement in the Mumbai terror attack. Indian investigators have submitted voice samples and other evidence that reveal Lakhvi talking on satellite phones to the 10 terrorists who sailed into Mumbai and attacked its most famous landmarks.
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