Courts close for winter, no Pakistan plea on Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi bail

ATC Islamabad judge on December 18 had granted bail to Lakhvi citing lack of evidence

Islamabad: The Pakistan government on Tuesday again failed to file a plea challenging the bail to Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the key planner of 2008 Mumbai attacks, on the last working day for courts ahead of a two-week winter break, citing that the judge has not released the copy of the order.

The prosecution, which was supposed to challenge Islamabad anti-terrorism court’s decision to grant bail to Lakhvi in the High Court, could not do so as it failed to get a copy of the ATC’s order for the second day. “The winter holidays of courts mean the government may not file the plea against Lakhvi’s bail till January 8,” a court official said. The court, however, may take up cases of “very important nature,” he said.

The official expressed surprise over the Islamabad anti-terrorism court’s “reluctance” to hand over the copy of the bail order to the government while it wasted no time to provide the release order of Lakhvi to the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi administration a day after it granted him bail on December 18.

Meanwhile, the leader of a banned sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, is set to walk free from jail, officials said on Tuesday. Malik Ishaq, head of the LeJ, which is dedicated to killing minority Shias, is expected to be released on Thursday after the Punjab provincial government withdrew a request to extend his detention under public order laws.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to eradicate the “cancer” of sectarianism and will add to concerns about the effectiveness of the government response. The LeJ has claimed responsibility for numerous bloody attacks, including two bombings targeting Shias in Quetta in 2013 that killed a total of nearly 200 people.

A senior legal official said that the decision not to seek an extension of Ishaq’s detention was made by a three-judge review panel at Lahore high court on Monday.

Mr Sharif on Tuesday vowed to continue indiscriminate action against all terrorists. “The PM held consultation with legal experts on different aspects of national security in Islamabad”, said a government official. Also on Tuesday, Afghan Army Chief Gen. Sher Mohammed Karimi and ISAF commander arrived in Pakistan and held meeting with Gen. Raheel Sharif at the General Headquarters. The two visiting military leaders expressed their grief on Peshawar school attack and assured full support in fight against terrorist elements.

ATC Islamabad judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi on December 18 had granted bail to Lakhvi citing lack of evidence against him, but before he could be released from the jail, the government detained him for three more months under Public Maintenance Order in Adiala Jail where the trial is being held.

The decision to grant bail to Lakhvi, 54, drew sharp criticism from India and surprised many for its timing, just days after Taliban massacred 148 people, mostly school children, in Peshawar.

Lakhvi’s lawyer has filed a petition in the high court here challenging a trial court’s decision to make the Pakistan judicial commission’s record a part of evidence in the Mumbai terror attack case. Lakhvi and six other 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.

( Source : press trust of india )
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