RAWALPINDI: Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks, was released on Friday from Adiala Jail.
On December 10, 2014, an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) had granted him bail. However, the Punjab government kept him in detention for almost three months by issuing his detention orders under section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order 3MPO.
Lakhvi was formally released from Adiala Jail after he submitted surety bonds of Rs2 million, following the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict declaring his detention orders illegal.
Read: LHC orders Lakhvi’s release
After receiving the court orders, Superintendent Adiala Jail Malik Muhammad Mushtaq Awan released the suspect on Friday afternoon.
Upon his release, Lakhvi was received by a large number of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) activists and was immediately moved to unknown location amid tight security. Sources close to the JuD, said that Lakhvi have went to his native District Okara, where he is expected to meet his family.
Lakhvi’s counsel Rizwan Abbasi told The Express Tribune that his client is a free man now and can move everywhere inside the country. When asked about Lakhvi’s whereabouts, the counsel said that he was not in contact with Lakhvi since he was released. “I think he is expected to meet his family in his native because he has released after six years,” he added.
Read: Detention of Mumbai attacks suspect extended by a month
On March 14, the Punjab government had issued his detention orders to basically stop Lakhvi from attending any public meeting or potentially regrouping his [banned outfit]. Earlier Islamabad administration had also issued the detention orders which were declared illegal by the Islamabad High Court IHC.
According to the Indian media, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh terming the development ‘unfortunate’ said the Indian government was ‘disappointed’ over the release of Lakhvi.
“India wants talks with Pakistan but the present development (release of Lakhvi) is unfortunate and disappointing,” zeenews.india reported.
Lakhvi was accused of being involved in planning and executing the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks that had killed over 160 people. He is also facing a six-year old kidnapping case in which he was granted bail in January this year. Capital police had registered a kidnapping case against Lakhvi for allegedly kidnapping Anwar Khan, a resident of the capital’s outskirts.
Responding to the remarks of the Indian external affairs ministry’s spokesperson, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said the case of Mumbai attack suspects is subjudice adding that it would not be appropriate to cast aspersions on Pakistan’s commitment to countering terrorism specially at a time when Pakistan has entered a critical stage of defeating the menace of terrorism.
She alleged that inordinate delay in extending cooperation by India complicated the case and weakened the prosecution. “We respect the judicial process and are confident that it would serve the interest of justice,” Aslam added.