A Pakistani court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the government’s plea for cancellation of bail to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind, till March 26 as his counsel did not turn up.
“The Islamabad High Court today adjourned the hearing till March 26 as Lakhvi’s counsel did not turn up. His counsel filed an application in the court, saying he was not well,” a prosecution official said after the hearing on Tuesday. He added that Lakhvi was adopting ‘delaying tactics’ in the case. “Lakhvi is buying more time in the bail cancellation case, in order to get relief in his detention case,” he said.
High Court judge Noorul Haq Qureshi on March 13 suspended the government’s detention order of Lakhvi for the second time and ordered his immediate release. Lakhvi’s lawyer, Raja Rizwan Abbasi said that the Punjab government had issued the order in violation of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The Punjab government on March 14 detained 55-year-old Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi for another 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO), before he could be released by Adiala Jail authorities in Rawalpindi on the Islamabad High Court’s order.
In December, the anti-terrorism trial court in Islamabad granted bail to Lakhvi but he was detained the next day under the MPO. However, the high court suspended Lakhvi’s detention on ‘weak legal ground’.
Just before he was to be released from Adiala Jail, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping an Afghan national in 2009. He also got bail in the kidnapping case. Later, the government challenged the high court’s order in the Supreme Court which suspended its order.
The decision to release Lakhvi drew an angry reaction from India and consequently, the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and sought an explanation on the matter.
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 killed 166 people.