India, Pak call in envoys over new order to release Lakhvi
LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (Source: AP photo)
India on Friday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to lodge a strong protest as the Islamabad High Court cleared the decks for the release of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the prime accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case.
Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju said it was the responsibility of Pakistan to keep Lakhvi behind bars as there was overwhelming evidence of his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Hours later, Pakistan summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh in Islamabad and told him that India’s response was “unjustified”. Singh was told that Pakistan had done enough to detain Lakhvi and had even registered a case against him under the Maintenance of Public Order Act in 2014 after he was granted bail in the Mumbai attacks case.
In a counter move, Pakistan also lodged a strong protest with India over the delay in the trial of the 2007 Samjhauta Express attack case in which 68 people were killed.
Although the Islamabad High Court held the detention of Lakhvi as void and ordered his immediate release, Lakhvi’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi told The Indian Express that the government may still try to keep his client in prison. “Though the (court) orders have been passed, we still do not trust the government. They may use their high handedness to keep him in prison,” he said.
“The dossier given by India is not valid in court and cannot be used as a legally admissible evidence. In the court of law, such reports do not matter. Now we have to see whether the government of Pakistan will respect the court’s decision,” he said.
He said Lakhvi was lodged in a high-security jail in Rawalpindi and it was difficult to meet him. He said his family, primarily his wife, was pursuing the case on her husband’s behalf.
Last year, after Lakhvi was granted bail, the Pakistan government had registered a fresh case of abduction against him. Abassi said the case was registered to harass his client. The Pakistan government had invoked a case under the Maintenance of Public Order Act against Lakhvi in December 2014, after India protested the bail granted to him in the Mumbai attacks case.
The Islamabad High Court on Friday accepted 55-year-old Lakhvi’s appeal against the detention.
Within hours, officiating Foreign Secretary Anil Wadhwa summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner to South Block and conveyed India’s unhappiness over the court order in strong words. The matter was also “raised at high levels” in Pakistan through the Indian High Commission, official sources said.
Rijiju said Islamabad did not produce the evidence against Lakhvi despite having enough of it. “Pakistan did not present the evidence before the court. Our concern is Pakistan should deal with terrorists in a manner in which the whole global community is looking at. There is no bad or good terrorists, a fact which has been globally accepted. It is the responsibility of the Pakistan government to take all legal measures to ensure that Lakhvi does not come out of jail,” he said.
Source:: Indian Express