Islamabad: The US and the UK have asked Pakistan to hand over Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, to India to improve bilateral ties or to them for his "independent trial".
During 54-year-old Lakhvi's bail case the Islamabad High Court (IHC) today, the prosecution informed that the "two countries had demanded handing over of Lakhvi to India".
However, the prosecution lawyer did not name the countries in the court. However, an Interior Ministry source told PTI that the US and the UK had asked the Nawaz government to hand over Lakhvi either to India in order to "improve ties" with the neighbouring country or to them for his "independent trial" as several nationals of different countries were killed in the the 2008 Mumbai attack.
The prosecution also requested the division bench of IHC headed by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui to expedite the case. On this, Saddiqui remarked, "Shift the case to the military court if the government is in such a hurry." The judge also said handing Lakhvi over to any country was a "diplomatic issue" concerning the government and the court had nothing to do with it.
Prosecution Chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI that Lakhvi's lawyer did not attend today's hearing. "The court in last hearing had issued summons for Lakhvi but his counsel did not appear. On this, the court adjourned the hearing," he said. The court office will fix the next date for hearing. In the last hearing, the prosecution told the IHC the trial court had ignored testimony in the 26/11 case while granting bail to Lakhvi on December 18, 2014.
Lakhvi will remain in jail under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) till February 18 after the government extended his detention for another month. 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 attacks in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
Lakhvi was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the other accused on November 25, 2009.