India says Lakhvi release ‘most negative’, France terms it ‘deeply shocking’

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New Delhi/Paris: India on Friday registered its strong concerns with Pakistan on the release of 26/11 principal accused Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and said that it was a “most negative development” for bilateral ties. In Paris, French President Francois Hollande told visiting prime minister Narendra Modi that the release of Lakhvi on bail is “deeply shocking”.

In a statement, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that India’s High Commission in Islamabad has “registered our strong concerns with the foreign secretary of Pakistan at the release of a principal accused in the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008”.

India underlined that the move “has reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists and those who have carried out attacks or are posing a threat to India are being dealt with differently”.

It also emphasized that “this is a most negative development in so far as bilateral ties are concerned”.

The issue of Lakhvi’s release also featured in talks between Prime Minister Modi and senior politicians in France as well as in his talks with President Hollande.

Akbaruddin shared Hollande’s tweet: “Release on bail of terrorist accused of heinous crime of Mumbai terrorist attack is deeply shocking – Prez @fhollande.”

Lakhvi was released overnight from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi without any announcement by the jail authorities or the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), the organisation that Lakhvi was affiliated with, Geo TV reported.

Akbaruddin told reporters in Paris that the French delegation that met Modi during a lunch meeting at the National Assembly raised the issue twice. “Twice the French delegation raised the issue of the unfortunate release of Lakhvi in Pakistan and said it was not good news either for India or the world.”

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