Lakhvi’s bail surprises prosecution; govt to challenge bail

Lahore: The anti-terrorism court in Pakistan gave bail to LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a key planner of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, despite evidence against him in the case which was nearing its end, prosecution today said, disclosing that they will challenge the decision.

“As the trial was near conclusion the Anti-Terrorism Court Islamabad today granted bail to Lakhvi despite evidence against him,” prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI.

As seven judges of the Mumbai case have been replaced since the start of the trial in 2009, Jutsice Kausar Abbasi Zaidi is the eighth one holding the in camera proceedings at Adiala Jail Rawalpindi due to security concerns.

“We have so far produced 46 witnesses in the court who testified against all seven accused – Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum. Only 15 more witnesses have to testify against them in coming days. And the trial is likely to be concluded in three to four weeks,” he said.

The 46 witnesses included the officials of the Federal Investigation Agency, Crime Investigation Department, National Database Registration Authority, government doctors and people who have testified against the accused for running training camps, bank transactions, giving directions on phone to some of the 10 terrorists operating in Mumbai, buying inflatable boats used for transporting the terrorists and etc.

The prosecution lawyers including Chaudhry Azhar had received threats from Jamaat-ud-Dawah and reported the same to the judge and requested for their security.

Jamaat-ud-Dawah is led by Hafiz Saeed, who is on India’s most wanted list for masterminding the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people during a 60-hour siege in November 2008.

The seven accused – Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum – are facing trial at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

The prosecution lawyers had recently filed an application in the trial court requesting that the hearing should be held through a video-link or allow the witnesses to submit their recorded statements in the court. But the court dismissed it.

The government would challenge Lakhvi’s bail in the Lahore High Court.

“After going through the court order in Lakhvi’s bail case we will decide to challenge it,” Azhar said, expressing surprise over the court’s move to grant bail as some 15 more witnesses are yet to testify against the accused including Lakhvi.