26/11 Mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi Leaves Jail, India Lodges Protest With Pakistan

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FILE: 26/11 attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (Press Trust of India photo)


Lahore: 

Indian High Commissioner TCS Raghavan today met Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry to lodge protest over the release of 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi from a jail in Pakistan.

''Our High Commissioner has registered our strong concerns with the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan at the release of a principal accused in the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008. He underlined that this has reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists and those who have carried out attacks or are posing a threat to India are being dealt with differently and emphasized that this is a most negative development in so far as bilateral ties are concerned," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier condemned Lakhvi's release saying, "This is a serious setback, it's deeply disappointing."

But Pakistan blamed India for "inordinate delay" in extending cooperation in the Mumbai attack trial, saying it complicated Lakhvi's case and weakened the prosecution, leading to his release. "As I had mentioned earlier also, inordinate delay in extending cooperation by India complicated the case and weakened the prosecution. We respect the judicial process and are confident that it would serve the interest of justice," Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.

Lakhvi was first granted bail in December, but was kept in prison by the government under a public security act after a scathing reaction from India.

"Lakhvi has been released and he is out of the jail now," his lawyer, Malik Nasir Abbas, told news agency Reuters.

Lakhvi, the 55-year-old military chief of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was arrested in Pakistan in 2009, months after 166 people were killed by 10 gunmen who attacked the city for three days.

Lakhvi and six other suspects have been charged in Pakistan for planning and executing the Mumbai attacks, but their cases have made virtually no progress in more than five years, inciting repeated protests from India.

Delhi accuses Islamabad of prevaricating over the trials, and says it has submitted enough evidence to prove that Lakhvi is responsible for its worst-ever terror attack.

 



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