Islamabad High Court on Monday set a two-month deadline for the trial court to conclude the 2008 Mumbai attack case, warning that it would accede to Pakistan government’s plea to cancel the bail granted to LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman if it failed to do so.
A two-member bench of IHC headed by Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi gave the “two-month deadline” to the Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court to conclude the case against Mumbai attack mastermind Lakhvi and six others going on since 2009. The bench was hearing the government’s plea for cancellation of 55-year-old Lakhvi’s bail.
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After the arguments from the prosecution and defence lawyers, the bench said: “This court gives two months to the trial court to conclude the Mumbai case and adjourns this case (a plea to cancellation of bail to Lakhvi) till then.” Prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI after the hearing here that the judge also said in his order that the court would cancel Lakhvi’s bail if there was a delay on the part of his lawyers.
“The court is pending this case for a period of two months till the conclusion of the Mumbai case. If it is reported that the Mumbai case could not be concluded (in two months) because of delaying tactics of the defence lawyers this court will cancel Lakhvi’s bail,” the judge remarked.
He was responding to the arguments of the prosecution that the Mumbai case had been inordinately delayed because of the delaying tactics of the defence lawyers. Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq of Lahore High Court on April 9 suspended the detention of Lakhvi under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) as the government failed to present “sensitive evidence” against him in the court.
The government managed to keep Lakhvi behind the bars under the MPO for nearly four months since the trial court granted him bail on December 19 last year. On April 10, Lakhvi was released from the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi after the Lahore High Court suspended his detention under a security act. India lodged a strong protest over the release, saying the “negative development” reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists.
Lakhvi, a close relative of LeT founder and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the case. He and six others — 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 dead.