Court orders Mumbai suspect release

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Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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A Pakistani court has ordered the release of the main suspect in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks by cancelling a government order under which he had been detained for the past three months, a defence lawyer and prosecution said.

But Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi is unlikely to be freed quickly because he still faces charges in a separate kidnapping case, prosecutor Jahangir Jadoon said.

Islamabad High Court “cancelled the detention order for Lakhvi after concluding that no solid evidence was available to keep him in jail”, he said.

Defence lawyer Rizwan Abbasi said his client had been implicated in the kidnapping case in December to block his release. Another court has already granted bail in that case, and the government has no authority to keep Lakhvi in jail, the lawyer said.

“The government may show rigidity and it may use delaying tactics in releasing Lakhvi to appease India,” Mr Abbasi said.

Lakhvi is one of seven suspects being tried by Pakistan in connection with the attacks, which killed 166 people and seriously damaged relations between Pakistan and India.

India has repeatedly urged Pakistan to actively pursue the case against Lakhvi, who was accused of planning the attack, and other suspects.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs summoned the Pakistani high commissioner in New Delhi today and conveyed India’s disappointment at the court’s ruling.

India’s junior home minister Kiren Rijiju said Islamabad had not produced clinching testimony against Lakhvi despite possessing sufficient evidence.

Mr Abbasi said his client has been in government custody since 2009. Lakhvi has remained jailed under a special detention order even though a court granted bail in December in the Mumbai case.

Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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