Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in 14-day custody, Pakistan hits out at Indian 'hype'

Islamabad: Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was sent to 14 days' judicial custody in an abduction case by a court here Thursday, even as Pakistan termed "unfortunate" the "unnecessary hype" created by India over the issue and also questioned lack of action in the Samjhauta blast case.

The judicial remand order came as Lakhvi's two-day physical remand in the kidnapping case expired Thursday. The physical remand was ordered when Lakhvi was awaiting release as the Islamabad High Court suspended his detention under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law.

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the key planner of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Pic/AP

Although police asked the judicial magistrate for a five day remand, the court sent Lakhvi to a 14 day judicial remand. He will be presented in court again Jan 15. India had Monday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi to register its protest at the lack of "effective action" by Pakistani prosecuting authorities to keep the Lashkar-e-Taiba kingpin in custody.

Lakhvi has been in jail since 2009 for the Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people were killed. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, answering a query, said the issue of bail to Lakhvi was a legal matter and "media trials serve no purpose. We should wait for the outcome of the case. The case is progressing well".

Aslam also raised the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts in which 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, were killed. She said "the investigations and the confession of the mastermind of the attack, Swami Aseemanand pointed to the involvement of India military officers and some organisations linked to major political parties. Yet, Aseemanand was granted bail on Aug 28, 2014".

Though the Samjhauta Express attack happened more than two years before the Mumbai attack, "it is very disappointing that India has not shared its findings despite assurances at the highest level", she said. "We do not draw comparisons and do not take a similar approach. The Mumbai case is being pursued vigorously by prosecution," she added.

To another question on the future of India-Pakistan ties, she said Pakistan has "a vision of peace and Pakistan took steps in consonance with that vision" and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to Delhi at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

"There was an agreement between the two prime ministers that the foreign secretaries would meet and talk about resumption of dialogue. The scheduled talks were cancelled by India abruptly," Aslam said, adding that the "onus is on India to take further initiative".

She also said Pakistan and India had worked out a mechanism to stop the violation of ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) but it was "unfortunate" that the Indian side was continually violating it". On Wednesday, Pakistan summoned India's deputy high commissioner and lodged a protest over the killing of two Pakistani troopers along the Line of Control (LoC).

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