26/11 Mumbai attacks accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi granted bail by Pak court

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December 19, 2014

A day after Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said his government was committed to fighting terrorism, 26/11 accused Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was granted bail by a Pakistan anti-terror court.

26/11 Mumbai Attack accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi speaking to reporters on receiving bail.

December 19, 2014

A day after Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said his government was committed to fighting terrorism, 26/11 accused Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was granted bail by a Pakistan anti-terror court.

26/11 Mumbai Attack accused Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi speaking to reporters on receiving bail.

CNN-IBN reports that the Pakistan government has will oppose bail for Lakhvi. "No arguments took place due to the Peshawar attack. The lawyers were on strike," a Pakistan government official said. The Pakistan Prime Minister's Office (PMO) sources also told CNN-IBN that the bail given to Lakhvi was a "technical error".

Lakhvi is co-founder of the LeT and is one of the main accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, in which 166 people lost their lives. Lakhvi's lawyer claimed that there was no case of abetment against him, reports Times Now. Lakhvi had been held in a Rawalpindi jail till now.

Lakhvi and six others had filed bail applications on Wednesday even as lawyers were observing strike to condemn the terrorist attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that left 148 people, mostly children, dead.

The FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) prosecutor disagreed with the bail request, however advocate Rizwan Abbasi, the lawyer representing Lakhvi stood before the court as the bail was approved, the Dawn reported.

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.

Among the sharp reactions against the decision to grant him bail, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "It is a violation of international law to allow this man to roam free. Pakistan's move is simply unacceptable. Other countries like the US and European Union should put pressure on Pakistan to revoke this move."

Claiming that this was not the first time Pakistan was protecting terrorists, Tharoor further said, "Pakistan even denied that Dawood Ibrahim was in their country, even after we gave them proof. They had also denied Osama bin Laden was in their country."

Congress leader Manish Tewari said, "It's extremely unfortunate that Pakistan has decided to do this in the aftermath of the Peshawar outrage… There cannot be anything more unfortunate when Pakistan is realizing what the cost of terrorism can be. It was expected that Pakistan would bring all those responsible for terror to justice. This is counter-productive."

Among the government reactions, Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, "It has been proven that Lakhvi was involved in the Mumbai terror attacks… On one hand, Pakistan says that it wants to fight terrorism. On the other hand, it engages in double standards by giving bail to Lakhvi."

Moreover, earlier on Thursday, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should seize the opportunity in the wake of terror attack on Peshawar school and take bold steps to combat terrorism.

"If Pakistan is serious in fighting terrorism, it should arrest Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim and hand them over to India… I hope Nawaz Sharif will seize this opportunity to take bold steps against terrorism," he told reporters outside Parliament.

This move by Pakistan comes a day after Sharif, in a press conference, on Wednesday, had said, "If terrorists are not punished, then who will be punished?"

"We announce that there will be no differentiation between 'good' and 'bad' Taliban and have resolved to continue the war against terrorism till the last terrorist is eliminated," he had said, adding "the fight against terrorism is our fight and to counter it, a holistic roadmap is needed."

"We have all unanimously decided that a committee comprising of all parliamentary parties under Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar will prepare a plan of action which will be submitted to national leadership within seven days," Sharif had said.


Courtesy: PTI