LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind, has been granted bail by a Pakistani court in the abduction case of an Afghan national. But the 54-year-old militant cannot be released from Adiala Jail Rawalpindi till another court decides his detention under the government’s Maintenance of Public Order.
“A lower court of Islamabad yesterday admitted Lakhvi’s application in the abduction case of Anwer Khan, an Afghan national, and granted him bail against the surety bonds of worth Rs 200,000,” said his counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi. Abbasi said he told judge Mian Azhar Nadeem that his client had been implicated in in “false and fabricated” FIR.
He said the FIR had ghost character (Anwer Khan) and the police made a concocted story to keep his client in jail after the Islamabad High Court had suspended the government’s order to detain his client.
He claimed the government had rushed to register a false case against Lakhvi on the pressure of India which was not happy over the release of his client in Mumbai attack case. The prosecution lawyer argued that the Islamabad police had been investigating against Lakhvi for kidnapping Khan.
He said the police needed physical remand of the accused to divulge more information about the abducted person as he had been missing for the last six years. “The police will seek Lakhvi’s physical remand when he will be produced before a judicial magistrate on Jan 15,” he said. The judge, however, granted bail to Lakhvi.
“I will fight the detention of my client in the Islamabad High Court. There has been no justification to detain Lakhvi after the trial court and a lower court granted him bail in Mumbai attack case and abduction case, respectively,” Abbasi said.
According to the FIR, Khan, an Afghan national, went missing from Islamabad’s Thallan Syedan suburb some six year ago. His brother-in-law Muhammad Daud, complainant of the case, accused Lakhvi behind his kidnapping.
Lakhvi 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 26/11 attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
“Anwar used to visit the Jamatud Dawah (JuD) office Bhara Kahu where the group motivated him about Jihad and Lakhvi asked Anwar to get ready for it (Jihad) but he refused. One day Lakhvi came along with his accomplices at his house and took Anwar with him,” the FIR said.
Daud told police that he tried several times to contact Lakhvi after his arrest in 2009 but without success. “Only after learning from television news that Lakhvi is going to be released, and thinking he may go underground. I requested the Islamabad police to take action against the accused for kidnapping Anwer,” he said.
On January 7, Supreme Court of Pakistan set aside the Islamabad High Court’s order to suspend the government’s decision to detain Lakhvi under the MPO.
A two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja set aside the IHC’s order and admitted the government’s appeal against the suspension of Lakhvi’s detention.
The SC also referred the case back to the IHC for a “complete hearing” before giving a final decision. “The IHC seemed to have taken the decision in a haste. It did not hear the government’s arguments in the case. The case is being referred back to the IHC which should conclude hearing after giving an opportunity to the government to give its arguments,” Justice Khawaja remarked.
The IHC is likely to take up the case on the SC’s order early next week. On January 6, a two-member bench of IHC headed by Justice Shaukat Siddiqui took up the government’s plea against the trial’s decision to grant Lakhvi bail. It summoned Lakhvi for arguments in the case on next hearing likely to be held next week.
On December 18, 2014, the anti-terrorism court granted bail to Lakhvi, who was involved in planning, financing and executing the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. He was again detained on next day under the MPO.
However, Islamabad High Court judge Noorul Haq Qureshi suspended Lakhvi’s detention under MPO. Just before he was to be released, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping of Anwar Khan.