Islamabad: Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack – will remain in jail for another month after the Pakistan government extended his detention under a public security law amid a row with India over granting him bail in the 26/11 case.
As the Islamabad High Court today resumed the hearing in Lakhvi’s detention case, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mujahid Sher Dil told the court that the government had extended the detention of Mumbai attack prime accused for another 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
54-year-old Lakhvi’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi protested the government’s decision to detain his client for another month.
“While the court is hearing Mr Lakhvi’s detention case, the government should have sought the court’s permission in this regard. The government cannot issue another ‘illegal’ order while the case is pending with the court,” he argued.
The court adjourned the hearing till January 26. On December 18, the trial court (Anti Terrorism Court Islamabad) granted bail to Lakhvi, who was involved in planning, financing and executing the attack in November 2008.
The Pakistan government detained him next day under the MPO. However, Islamabad High Court judge Noorul Haq Qureshi suspended Lakhvi’s detention on “weak legal ground”, evoking a strong reaction from India.
India raised the issue with Pakistan — both in New Delhi and Islamabad, with Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoning Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and Indian mission taking it up in Islamabad with the Pakistan Foreign Office.
Just before he was to be released from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping Afghan national Muhammad Anwar Khan. Lakhvi got bail from a local court in Islamabad in the abduction case.
On January 7, a two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja had referred the case back to the IHC for a “complete hearing” before giving a final decision.
The government has also challenged the trial court’s decision to grant Lakhvi bail in Mumbai terror attack case in the IHC.
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.