Controversy over Mumbai attacks suspect’s detention continues.
The Lahore High Court on Thursday again ordered the release of the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks from prison, lawyers said, following a tussle over his detention that has strained ties with India.
Pakistani authorities have wrangled with the courts for nearly four months to keep Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused over the terror siege that left 166 dead, in custody. He was granted bail in December, infuriating New Delhi, but hit with a detention order, which was cancelled and reinstated twice before the Lahore High Court ruling annulled it for a third time on Thursday. He has remained in prison throughout.
“Justice Anwar-ul-Haq of the Lahore High Court today suspended detention orders of my client Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and ordered his release after submitting two surety bounds of Rs. 1 million each,” his lawyer Rizwan Abbasi told AFP. “The honorable judge said it is unconstitutional to hold anybody without any proof for more than 90 days.”
Advocate General of Punjab Naveed Rasool confirmed the decision. “The honorable court has suspended detention orders of Lakhvi, we will see whatever legal options are available for us to review the decision,” he said.
The Mumbai attacks were blamed on banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). India has long seethed at Pakistan’s failure either to hand over or prosecute those accused of planning and organizing the violence.
Lakhvi and six other suspects have been charged in Pakistan but their cases have made virtually no progress in more than five years. Delhi accuses Islamabad of prevaricating over the trials, while Pakistan has claimed India failed to hand over crucial evidence.
The original bail order in December prompted an angry response from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said it came as “a shock to all those who believe in humanity.”