The Punjab government on Tuesday challenged the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) release orders for Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the key accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The petition filed by the Punjab Home Department maintains that there was sufficient evidence against Lakhvi but LHC’s Justice Anwarul Haq had ignored it and ordered his release on April 10. The petition requests that the LHC’s decision to release Lakhvi be suspended with the top court permitting to restore his detention under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
The Punjab government had previously maintained that Lakhvi had been detained based on ‘sensitive information’ provided by intelligence agencies.
Lakhvi had challenged his fourth one-month detention ordered by the Okara DCO on March 14, upon which the LHC had ordered his immediate release.
The decision drew sharp criticism from the international community, especially India, which termed the release as an “extremely disappointing development” and asked Islamabad to immediately ensure that Lakhvi does not come out of jail.
India has repeatedly expressed concern over Pakistan’s inability to prosecute the culprits in spite of New Delhi submitting what it says is detailed evidence.
However, Islamabad instead blamed New Delhi for the delay in Lakhvi’s trial and his eventual release.
Lakhvi is among the seven persons charged with planning and helping carry out the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The six other men facing trial in Adiala Jail for their alleged involvement in Mumbai attacks are Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal and Abdul Majid.
At the time of the attacks, Lakhvi was believed to be the operational head of the banned Laskhar-i-Taiba (LT) that has been accused by India of carrying out the attacks in India’s financial capital.
Lakhvi along with Zarar Shah was allegedly the key planner of the attack that killed 166 people.
Lakhvi, who was arrested in December 2008, had been originally granted bail in December, but the government kept him detained on temporary orders.