Islamabad/Lahore: A Pakistani court today suspended the government order to detain Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the key planner of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, under a public security order three days after he was granted bail in the 26/11 case.
However, a senior official of the Interior Ministry told PTI that the government might detain Lakhvi in another case.
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the key planner of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Pic/AP
"Since the release of Lakhvi from jail will draw a lot flak from the world especially India, the Pakistani government may detain Lakhvi in any other case like it did in the case of LeJ chief Malik Ishaq," he said.
Ishaq was remanded to judicial custody in a murder and terrorism case just before his release from a jail after government did not seek extension of his detention under the public security order.
Islamabad High Court judge Noorul Haq Qureshi suspended Lakhvi's detention under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) after hearing his lawyer's arguments. The government's law officer, however, did not turn up for the hearing.
The court directed the government to file a reply in this regard on next hearing in the case on January 15. Advocate Raja Rizwan Abbasi, Lakhvi's lawyer, told PTI that the IHC had suspended the notification of detention of his client.
"The court has suspended the detention of Lakhvi as the government's notification under MPO was illegal and had no solid legal ground," Abbasi said.
Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court Judge had on December 18 granted bail to Lakhvi in the Mumbai attack case citing lack of evidence against him, but before he could be released from jail, the government detained him for three more months under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
He was granted bail on surety bonds of Rs 500,000. Lakhvi challenged his detention under MPO in the Islamabad High Court after the government rejected his plea for release.
Lakhvi's lawyer during today's hearing also produced the order copy of the trial court that granted him bail. The order has cited "weak evidence, the registration of the FIR invoking irrelevant sections and hearsay evidence against the suspect".
It says the main evidence on the basis of which Lakhvi was implicated in the case was the confessional statement of lone surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab, who was subsequently executed in a Mumbai jail on November 21, 2012 after due legal proceedings. In the concluding paragraph of the order, the judge, however, stated that these observations were "tentative in nature and shall not affect the trial or its fate in future".
Lakhvi and other six accused - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum - were allegedly involved in planning and executing the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the case. The trial has been underway since 2009.