The Islamabad administration has extended the detention orders of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks, for further 10 days.
The previous detention orders were set to be expired on January 18. However, the administration extended the confining period which will expire on January 27, said an official. According to him, the decision was taken to extend the detention two days ahead in view of the approaching holiday on Sunday.
On December 18, 2014 the Islamabad administration detained Lakhvi, under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) in Adiala jail for 30 days, after he was granted post-arrest bail by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).
The prime objective of the extension is to prevent Lakhvi from attending any public meeting and potentially regrouping, said an official close to the development. When asked whether or not the government will extend it further, he responded that authorities can extend it for 90 days but the accused has already challenged his detention in IHC.
Sources in the administration said the government would keep Lakhvi in detention following pressure exerted by the Indian government. New Delhi had urged Islamabad to keep the accused behind bars. According to them, Lakhvi’s release doesn’t seem possible at the moment as there are other cases pending against him.
Earlier, on January 8, Civil Judge Azhar Nadeem accepted Lakhvi’s bail plea against the surety bonds of Rs200,000. Lakhvi, the commander of the banned outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was allegedly involved in planning, financing and executing the attacks on the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai in 2008. However, prosecutor Amir Nadeem Tabish opposed the bail. He informed the court that Anwar Khan, who is kidnapped, is still missing, and if he is “found dead then premeditated murder charges under section 302 could be added in the FIR”.
The case was registered by Golra police on December 29, 2014 on the complaint of Muhammad Dawood, a resident in the capital’s outskirts. The complainant alleged that Lakhvi had kidnapped his brother-in-law, Anwar Khan, six years ago.
Meanwhile, on January 19, a two-member bench of IHC comprising Justice Noorul N Haq Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will take up the application of Federal Investigation Agency on January 19, in which the authority had challenged Lakhvi’s bail granted by the ATC. Special prosecutor FIA Chaudhry Muhammad Azhar had requested the court to suspend the ATC’s order. In his application, the prosecutor said there was sufficient evidence against the suspect in the case and that the trial court ignored it while granting the bail. However, Rizwan Abbasi, Lakhvi’s counsel, opposed the FIA plea.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2015.
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