India summons Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit over Lakhvi release order

Islamabad High Court on Friday ordered the release of 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. The court declaring his detention illegal, Express News reported.

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi AFP
After the Pakistani court today suspended the detention order of LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and ordered the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind India’s has summoned Pakistan High Commisioner Abdul Basit.

India on Friday said it was “extremely upset” over the verdict of a court in Islamabad ordering release of Lashkar terrorist Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan government. The matter has been “raised at high levels” in Pakistan, official sources said.

“India is extremely upset with the verdict and as a first step lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan government,” the sources said.

“Today the Islamabad High Court accepted Lakhvi’s plea against his detention and ordered his immediate release,” a Pakistani court official told PTI.

He said IHC judge Noorul Haq Qureshi had declared the government’s order to detain Lakhvi under Maintenance of Public Order “illegal” and ordered his immediate release. Raja Rizwan Abbasi, counsel for Lakhvi, told PTI that he would submit the court’s order to the administration of the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi for the release of his client. “We haven’t yet received the court’s order. However, we will submit the same to Adiala Jail for immediate release of Mr Lakhvi,” he said.

India strongly reacted to the IHC’s ruling, saying the overwhelming evidence against Lakhvi has not been presented properly before court by Pakistani agencies. “It is the responsibility of the Pakistan government to take all legal measures to ensure that Lakhvi does not come out of jail,” India’s Ministry of Home Affairs said in Delhi.

Sources in Pakistan’s interior ministry said the federal government might detain Lakhvi under another public security order as the court had already restrained it from registering any other case against Lakhvi without its prior permission. “The HC has suspended the 30 days detention order MPO which was expiring this week. The government may detain him under a fresh detention order under the same law,” they said.
The last 30-day detention order was expiring this week.

This is the second time the IHC suspended the government’s order to detain Lakhvi under MPO. Lakhvi last month had challenged his ‘fresh’ detention under Maintenance of Public Order. On December 18, 2014, the trial court (Anti-Terrorism Cout-I, Islamabad) granted bail to Lakhvi but he was detained next day under the MPO. However, the IHC suspended Lakhvi’s detention on “weak legal ground”.

Just before he was to be released from Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping an Afghan national in 2009. Later, the government challenged the HC’s order in the Supreme Court which suspended the government’s order to end his detention. The SC suspended the HC’s order.

Today the HC again suspended the government’s order which was issued on February 13 to detain Lakhvi. 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.