Despite India’s strong opposition, 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi walked out of jail on bail, on Friday.
Lakhvi was released from the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi after he submitted two bail surety bonds worth Rs 1 million each for his release. Representatives from Hafiz Saeed run terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah were present outside the prison to receive Lakhvi.
“Lakhvi has been released and he is out of the jail now,” his lawyer, Malik Nasir Abbas, told a news agency. “I don’t know where he will go now.” Pakistan media reports suggested that he has moved to an unspecified locations.
“His detention was deemed illegal by the Islamabad High Court which ordered his release,” he added.
Yesterday, the court had suspended the Punjab government’s detention order against Lakhvi under a public security act and ordered his immediate release.
Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq of Lahore HC suspended the detention of 55-year-old Lakhvi under Maintenance of Public Order after the government failed to present sensitive records against him in the court.
“The law officer had submitted important information about Lakhvi, but the court did not accept this and declared the evidence unsatisfactory,” an official of LHC said.
Lakhvi’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi argued that after the LHC’s earlier direction he had filed a representation before the Punjab home secretary against his “illegal” detention but the home secretary dismissed it and upheld the 30-day detention order issued by District Coordination Officer, Okara.
Reacting to the court verdict on Lakhvi, India said this “eroded” the value of assurances repeatedly conveyed to it by Pakistan on cross-border terrorism.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said “our concerns on this issue have been made known to the Government of Pakistan in the past. These shall be reiterated.
India had earlier strongly reacted to the IHC’s ruling on March 13, saying the overwhelming evidence against Lakhvi has not been presented properly before court by Pakistani agencies.
Lakhvi and six others – 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.
Lakhvi, believed to be a close relative of LeT founder and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the 26/11 attack case.
The trial has been underway since 2009.