The government has not been able to challenge the trial court’s decision to grant bail to the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks as the court has not announced its detailed order yet.
On December 19, ATC Judge Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi granted bail to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the commander of outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who was allegedly involved in planning, financing and executing the attacks on the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai.
An official of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told The Express Tribune that ATC judge has not yet released the detailed order of Lakhvi’s bail, resulting in the delay of the appeal.
The official said that FIA officers on Monday approached Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) to obtain the detailed order to challenge the case in Islamabad High Court (IHC); however, they were informed that the judge has not yet signed a detailed order which is delaying the appeals process.
“I have not received a copy of the detailed order which is important to complete legal formalities,” Chaudhry Azhar told The Express Tribune. “Bail cannot be challenged without a detailed order,” he added.
Moreover, the winter vacations are going to start in IHC from December 24 to January 9 2015 and it is expected the appeal may be delayed further, said another official of FIA who requested not to be named. The official said five days have passed since the short order but the detailed order has not been released “which is surprising.”
Lakhvi is currently detained in Adiala Jail under Maintenance of Public Order 3 (MPO). The other six accused Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal and Abdul Majid are also in custody in Adiala Jail who were arrested in 2009 from Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The main case is pending before the ATC where 54 witnesses had recorded their statement out of a total 155.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told lawmakers last week that the bail order came “as a shock to all those who believe in humanity world over”.
It took the authorities three days to regain full control of Mumbai and New Delhi has long said there is evidence that “official agencies” in Pakistan were involved in plotting the attack. Seven Pakistani suspects have been charged with planning and financing the attacks but the failure to advance their trials has been a major obstacle to better ties between Pakistan and India.
Delhi accuses Islamabad of prevaricating over the trials, while Pakistan has claimed that India failed to hand over crucial evidence.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2014.