Dec 19, 2014

Pakistan detains Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi for 3 more months

A day after Pakistan's anti-terrorism court granted bail to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a key planner, facilitator and executer of the November 26 Mumbai attacks, the government detained him under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) rules for three more months at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail on Friday.

The government has also decided to challenge the decision of Lakhvi's bail approval in the high court. "I will challenge the bail approval in Islamabad High Court on Monday," said Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry, government's prosecutor in the Mumbai attacks case.

Lakhvi's bail plea was accepted by the anti-terrorism court on Thursday and had set surety bonds of Rs 500,000 ($5000) for his release. He, however, was not released and the government on Friday ensured his detention under MPO, Chaudhry said. His arrest order under MPO came from the interior ministry, a jail warden confirmed.

While New Delhi strongly reacted to Lakhvi's bail release, the decision was also widely condemned on social media in Pakistan.

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India slams Pak's selective stand on terror

The timing of the decision was controversial as it came two days after the bloodiest incident of school carnage in Peshawar.

Lakhvi is among the seven persons charged with planning and helping carry out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people during a 60-hour siege in November 2008.

The seven accused - Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum - are facing trial at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

Parliament condemns bail to Lakhvi

India on Friday rejected Pakistan's contention about insufficient evidence against Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and asked it to ensure reversal of bail granted to him as Parliament expressed outrage over the development and condemned it.

As members raised the issue in Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the bail granted to Lakhvi on Thursday has come as a "shock" to all those who believe in humanity worldover, particularly after every Indian shared the pain of the massacre of Pakistani children in Peshawar on Tuesday.

The Lok Sabha adopted a quickly-drafted resolution condemning the bail granted to Lakhvi and asked the government to take "all steps in its power, including through its relations with foreign countries, to put pressure on Pakistan to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion."

As the House stood as one on the issue sinking differences, Modi said India immediately conveyed its sentiments in the "strongest terms" to Pakistan and the future actions will take into account the agitated feelings expressed by the MPs.

Referring to the massacre in a school in Peshawar, he said, "The pain felt in India was no less than that felt in Pakistan. Every Indian had tears in eyes... But immediately after that this kind of behaviour has come as shock to all those who believe in humanity."

He assured the House that the sentiments expressed by the members will be reflected in government's actions on the issue.

Immediately after, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement, saying, "We reject this argument that there is lack of adequate evidence."

She said by allowing bail to Lakhvi, Pakistan has made mockery of its pledge to fight terrorism "without any condition or discrimination" and asserted that Pakistan should immediately get this decision overturned.

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