Islamabad: The Pakistan government’s appeal against the bail to 26/11 plotter Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi will be heard by a court in Islamabad on Tuesday.
“The Islamabad High Court has fixed January 6 for hearing of the government’s plea against Lakhvi’s bail on its request. A division bench has been constituted to take up the matter,” an official told PTI.
He said the government had requested the IHC to consider the matter “urgent” and fix the date of hearing at earliest. “The court has also issued a notice to respondent Lakhvi for Tuesday’s hearing,” the official said.
Yesterday, the Pakistan government challenged Lashkar-e-Tayiba operations commander Lakhvi’s bail in the IHC, saying an anti-terrorism court ignored testimony in the 26/11 case while granting bail to him.
According to the government petition filed by Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director General Mohammad Khalid Qureshi, “The fact remains that such cases of defunct terrorist organisations are not so easy to be conducted and especially the prosecution in such cases is the most difficult job in our country for the last many years”.
“In the present case, the learned trial judge (of ATC) after the terrorist attack in Islamabad courts (of March 2013) refused to visit Adiala Jail for a long time due to security reasons. Even the prosecutors of this case have been receiving threats through cell phones during the proceedings which were duly conveyed to the concerned authorities,” it said.
“The witnesses are also not secured, and reluctant to depose against the accused persons in the given situation. A major part of the evidence has been recorded and the rest will not take more than three months to record and therefore the observation of the ATC’s judge that the trial may take years to conclude is not correct.”
The prosecution further mentioned in their plea that the trial has not been delayed because of the prosecution but “multiple applications filed by the defence counsel hampered progress of the case”.
“The prosecution had moved several applications for an expeditious trial but the trial court did not properly examine these facts,” it said.
The appeal further pointed out that the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested in Mumbai after the 26/11 attack, was still part of the evidence and it was at no stage discarded and that statement clearly established Lakhvi’s link to the attack.
“The prosecution has sufficient evidence against Lakhvi thereby requesting the court to cancel his bail,” it said.
On December 18, 2014, the anti-terrorism court granted bail to Lakhvi, who was involved in planning, financing and executing the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008.
He was again detained the next day under the Maintenance of Public Order. However, Islamabad High Court judge Noorul Haq Qureshi suspended Lakhvi’s detention under MPO.
Just before he was to be released, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping Afghan national Muhammad Anwar Khan.
The police kept him at the Shalimar Police station in Islamabad for a two-day physical remand before a magistrate sent him back to Adiala Jail on January 2 for a 14-day judicial custody.
He will be produced before the magistrate on January 15. The government has already challenged the IHC’s order to suspend Lakhvi detention in the Supreme Court. On the other hand, Lakhvi has also challenged his detention in the abduction case in the IHC.
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 terror attack on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
Lakhvi was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the case. The trial has been underway since 2009.