Alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind gets bail in Pakistan

The accused mastermind of the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people during the 60-hour siege was granted bail, prompting India to demand an appeal.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was identified as the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks by the sole surviving gunman from the assault. Abu Arqam Naqash / April 21, 2008
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was identified as the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks by the sole surviving gunman from the assault. Abu Arqam Naqash / April 21, 2008

NEW DELHI // A Pakistani court yesterday granted bail to the alleged mastermind of the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, prompting India to demand an appeal against the move.

The court unexpectedly released Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of the seven primary accused in the attacks that killed 166 people.

The 60-hour siege was blamed on Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The court in Islamabad said prosecutors had yet to find enough evidence to justify holding Lakhvi while the trial was in progress.

Indian home minister Rajnath Singh said the decision to release Lakhvi was “very unfortunate”. “India has given enough evidence [against Lakhvi]. We expect the Pakistan government to appeal at the earliest,” he said.

Following news of Lakhvi’s release, Suresh Nakhua, an Indian Twitter user, said: “Two minutes silence for those who trended #IndiaWithPakistan – Lakhvi gets bail.”

A former Indian army officer, who had served in Kashmir and is familiar with how terrorist groups in Pakistan operate, said he was surprised by the news of Lakhvi’s release.

“The Lashkar-e-Taiba is an asset of the Pakistani army, so there was probably a lot of pressure on the court to give him bail,” he said.

“But it’s terrible for the image of the government, for this to happen so soon after the Peshawar attack,” he said, referring to the Taliban massacre of 148 people at an army-run school in Peshawar on Tuesday.

* Reporting by Samanth Subramanian and Agence France-Presse

Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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