Lahore: A Pakistani court dismissed the plea of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi against his detention under a public security act, keeping the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack in jail till next month. Lahore High Court (LHC) judge Mahmood Maqbool Bajwa dismissed 55-year-old Lakhvi's plea against his detention under Maintenance of Public Ordinance (MPO) by the Punjab government on March 14.
The judge had reserved his judgment early in the day after hearing the arguments of Lakhvi's counsel advocate Raja Rizwan Abbasi and law officer Khawar Ikram Bhatti. "The court issued a short order announcing dismissal of Lakhvi's petition. The detailed order will be issued later," a court official said.
Lakhvi had challenged his detention and prayed LHC to it set aside the Punjab home department's order for being "illegal and a violation of Islamabad High Court order". "The government had detained my client for four times since he got bail in the Mumbai attack case," Abbasi said, adding the government had detained Lakhvi under pressure from India and the US.
The law officer argued that Lakhvi was a prime accused in Mumbai terror attack and his release (on bail) could trigger serious law and order problem in the province. The Punjab government on March 14 detained Lakhvi for another 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order, before he could be released from Adiala Jail Rawalpindi on the Islamabad HC order.
IHC Judge Noorul Haq Qureshi on March 13 suspended the federal government's order to detain Lakhvi and ordered his immediate release.
India had strongly reacted to the IHC's ruling, saying the overwhelming evidence against Lakhvi has not been presented properly before court by Pakistani agencies. On December 18, 2014, the trial court (Anti-Terrorism Court-I, Islamabad) granted bail to Lakhvi but he was detained next day under the MPO. However, the IHC suspended Lakhvi's detention on "weak legal ground".
Just before he was to be released from Adiala Jail, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping an Afghan national in 2009. He also got bail in the kidnapping case. Later, the government challenged the IHC's order in the Supreme Court which suspended its order. Lakhvi again challenged his detention and got relief from the court (on March 13).
The IHC has constituted a three-member Review Board headed by Justice Shaukat Siddiqui to hear Lakhvi's plea against his detention.
Lakhvi and six others - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum - have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.