A Pakistani anti-terrorism court holding the trial of seven Mumbai attack accused, including mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, on Wednesday adjourned the hearing till June 10 as the judge was on leave.
“Today the Mumbai case hearing could not be held as the Anti-Terrorism Court Islamabad judge was on leave,” a prosecution official said. Lakhvi, however, did not appear in the sixth consecutive hearing since his release from jail.
“As the other six accused of the case are appearing in the court hearing at Adila Jail Rawalpindi, Lakhvi’s absence in the court during hearings (since he was released from jail on April 10, 2015 on bail) is a sheer violation of law. We will file an application in the court in this regard,” the official said.
In the first week of last month, Lakhvi had filed an application in the trial court requesting it to exempt him from appearing in person during the case hearings, citing threats to his life from a foreign agency and a Taliban group.
The court has not yet given verdict on Lakhvi’s application.
“Under the law Lakhvi is supposed to be present on every hearing in the Mumbai case till a decision on his plea,” the official said. The court fixed next Wednesday for next hearing. Lakhvi was released from the Adiala Jail on April 10 after the Lahore High Court suspended his detention under a security act.
Subsequently, the Islamabad High Court had given a two-month deadline (by mid of June) to the trial court to conclude the case while disposing of the government’s plea challenging the bail to Lakhvi.
Fifty-five-year-old Lakhvi is staying at an undisclosed location since his release. Lakhvi and six other accused – Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum – have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.