LeT operations commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terror attack, has pleaded before an Anti-Terrorism Court to exempt him from appearing in the court, citing alleged security threat.
Advocate Raja Rizwan Abbasi, counsel for Lakhvi, filed the application in the ATC Islamabad on Monday requesting it to exempt his client from appearing in the court in the 26/11 case as he is facing “serious threats” to his life.
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“Lakhvi may be assassinated while coming to or leaving the court. Since the trial in the Mumbai attack case began in February 2009, Lakhvi and six other suspects had been attending the proceedings inside Adiala jail (Rawalpindi) but after his release (from jail last month on bail) Lakhvi will now have to appear before the court on his own thus putting his life in serious danger,” Abbasi said, urging the court to exempt him from personal appearance in the case.
The court issued notice to the prosecution on Lakhvi’s application for Wednesday. A court official said that Lakhvi claimed in his application that a foreign intelligence agency and a section of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan might target him while going or coming out of Adiala jail for hearing in the Mumbai case.
Under the law, it is mandatory on Lakhvi to be present during the hearings in the Mumbai case. During the last hearing in the Mumbai case on April 30, the ATC had adjourned the proceedings till May 6 when it was informed that the record of the case could not be retrieved from the Islamabad High Court.
The Mumbai case record was transferred to the IHC in the first week of January when the federal government challenged the bail to Lakhvi. The case hearings virtually could not be held after the trial court granted bail to Lakhvi on December 14, 2014.
On April 10, the Adiala Jail released Lakhvi after the Lahore High Court suspended his detention under a security act. The Islamabad High Court has given a two-month deadline (by mid of June) to the trial court to conclude the case.
Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people.