According to sources, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi freed on bail after Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered the release of the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks from prison, following a tussle over his detention that has strained ties with India.
“Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi has been released from jail. He is free now and in a secure place,” a senior Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) official told AFP.
“We can’t say exactly where is he at the moment for security reasons.”
The release comes after nearly four months of wrangling over Lakhvi’s detention, after a judge granted him bail in December, sparking a furious response from New Delhi.
The government slapped Lakhvi with a series of detention orders but judges repeatedly cancelled them.
On Thursday the Lahore High Court ordered his release, conditional on a two million rupee ($20,000) bond.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who is accused of the terror siege in India’s commercial capital Mumbai, was granted bail on December 18 by an Anti-Terror Court (ATC) but authorities later detained him under a public order law, which was suspended by the Islamabad High Court on December 29.
The Mumbai attacks left 166 people dead and were blamed on banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). India has long seethed at Pakistan’s failure to hand over or prosecute the accused planning and organizing terrorist attacks.
Lakhvi and six other suspects have been charged in Pakistan but their cases have made virtually no progress in more than five years.
India condemns Lakhvi’s release
India has condemned the release of the alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi on bail in Pakistan as an “insult” to the victims.
“This is a very disappointing announcement. An insult to the victims of 26/11 Mumbai attack. The global community should take serious note of Pakistan’s double-speak on terrorism,” said a home ministry spokesperson who asked not to be named. -AFP