Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-terror court on Thursday granted bail to top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander and 26/11 terror attack accused Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Along with Lakhvi six others - Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal and Abdul Majid - had also filed applications for bail on Wednesday in the court in Rawalpindi.
The court directed Lakhvi to pay surety bonds worth Pakistani Rs 5,00,000 before he can be released on bail. The bail application of the other six is also due to be heard soon. However, this verdict is likely to have an impact on the decision for bail of the other six accused as well.
The bail application of the other six is also due to be heard soon. However, this verdict is likely to have an impact on the decision for bail of the other six accused as well.
But the Pakistani government claimed the bail a technical error on its part and officials said they would oppose it. The government said that no arguments took place because of a Taliban strike at Peshawar's Army Public School and College and also because the lawyers were on strike.
Pakistani officials maintained that they are committed in their fight against terror. "The bail has been granted but there is a strong opposition from the government. This is being seen as a wrong timing," a journalist with Dawn News Daniyal Hassan said.
Hassan added that there would be certain other conditions attached with the bail order which are likely to include Lakhvi not being allowed to move out of Pakistan or to hold and address rallies.
His release from jail comes a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to announce a "national plan" to tackle terrorism within a week, saying "this entire region" should be cleaned of terrorism.
India has maintained that Lakhvi was LeT's operational head and had directed the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008 in which 166 people were killed and several others injured. According to Indian dossiers Lakhvi and Zarar Shah were the key planners of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
Lakhvi's role in 26/11 Mumbai attack:
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi persuaded, guided and handled David Headley for conducting reconnaissance in India which resulted in death of 166 persons and injury to 238 persons in the 26/11 attack.
Around March 2008, a meeting was held in Muzaffarabad. Headley along with the other co-conspirators based in Pakistan i.e. Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Sajid Majid, Muzzamil and Abu Qahafa participated in this meeting. One Frogman to whom Headley was introduced as Abdur Rehman had also participated in the meeting. The meeting discussed the potential landing sites for the attack in Mumbai. Following the discussion Headley was given the task of identifying the landing sites for the attackers in Mumbai.
Upon the return of Headley to Pakistan he met Major Iqbal in Lahore and handed over the videos to Major Iqbal. Headley also met Sajid Majid in Rawalpindi. In pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy to attack different places as videographed by accused Headley, Sajid Majid, Zakiur Rehman Lahkvi, Abu Anas and Abu Qahafa held a meeting. In this meeting Abu Qahafa plotted the points marked by Headley in the GPS on his laptop to get an idea of the sea route to be followed and landing sites to be identified. The egress points of the attackers were also discussed during this meeting.
In or around June 2008, on the directions of the Pakistan based co-conspirators David Coleman Headley separately met Lashkar Member Sajid Majid, Abu Qahafa, Zaki-ur-Lakhvi, Abu Anes in Muzzaffarabad, and Major Iqbal in Lahore
In or around first week of August 2008 a meeting of top hierarchy of LeT (known as Sura of Zaki) headed by Zaki (A-4) was held in Muzaffarabad. This meeting was held to finalise the 26/11 Mumbai attack. The conspirators based in Pakistan finally approved a strong hold option over the egress option.