Mumbai attack mastermind Lakhvi arrested before his release

Tuesday 30th December 2014 12:11 EST

Islamabad: Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was on Tuesday arrested just before his release following a Pakistani court’s suspension of his detention. “Lakhvi has been arrested in another case,” an interior ministry spokesman said.

Lakhvi was set to be freed from the Adaila Jail in Rawalpindi on Tuesday morning on the order of the Islamabad High Court. “Lakhvi was then presented before a magistrate who remanded him in custody,” the official said.

The Islamabad High Court on Monday suspended the government’s Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) under which Lakhvi was being held under detention, paving the way for his release. Earlier, India's Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Basit in New Delhi and the Indian mission in Islamabad took up the issue with the Pakistan Foreign Office.

While suspending Lakhvi’s detention order, the court directed the Pakistan government to file a reply in this regard on January 15.

Lakhvi, who was the operations commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, was charged along with six others in 2009 in the Mumbai attack case. Ajmal Kasab, executed in India, and David Coleman Headley, convicted in the US for planning the attacks, had identified Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as the operations mastermind for the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai in which 166 people were killed.

Earlier an Islamabad court cancelled his detention order. But bowing to India's concern and international criticism, Lakhvi’s bail was cancelled and he was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail.

Earlier, India's ministry of external affairs summoned Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit, hours after it became evident that Lakhvi may walk free after a court order. Coming out of MEA, Abdul Basit refused to comment on the meeting. "Ask the ministry officials who called for the meeting," Basit told the waiting reporters.

In the petition Lakhvi's counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi had claimed that legal requirements were not fulfilled in the detention of Lakhvi. Besides, the legal grounds the government had cited in the matter were not maintainable, he had said. Before approaching court, Lakhvi had submitted an application with the Pakistan government seeking an end to his detention under MPO.

The decision to grant bail to Lakhvi, 54, drew sharp criticism from India and surprised many for its timing, just days after Taliban massacred 148 people, mostly school children, in Peshawar.

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