US conveys 'grave concern' to Pakistan over Lakhvi release

Washington: Conveying its grave concern over the release of Mumbai terror attacks' mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the US has asked Pakistan to follow through on its commitment to bring attacks' perpetrators to justice.

"We are gravely concerned about the release on bail of alleged Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi," State department spokesperson Jeff Rathke told reporters Friday in response to a question.

The US has "communicated that concern to senior Pakistani officials over the course of many months, and as recently as yesterday," he said, urging Islamabad to follow through on its commitment to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice.

"Terrorist attacks are an assault on the collective safety and security of all countries," Rathke said.

Lakhvi was released from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi Friday, a day after Lahore high court suspended his detention and ordered his immediate release.

Pakistan, the spokesman noted "has pledged its cooperation in bringing the perpetrators, financiers, and sponsors of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice."

"We urge Pakistan to follow through on that commitment to ensure justice for the 166 innocent people, including six Americans, who lost their lives," he said.

Asked if the release would have any repercussions for Pakistan, Rathke said the US had conveyed its concern in Islamabad, but he wouldn't "speculate about consequences or repercussions."

"But I think I've made clear that we're, again, as I said, gravely concerned about this development."

Since "this has just happened in the last few hours. So of course we're going to look at this development and decide what consequences to draw from it," Rathke said when asked why should Pakistan take US concern seriously.

"But I'm not going to get ahead of that process." He was "not going to put a timeline on it," Rathke said.

"But certainly, bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice is a key priority."

"And we stand by that. So we'll continue working in that direction, but I don't have any further specific steps to outline right now."

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