Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi will remain in jail for at least three more months with Pakistani authorities on Friday slapping stringent provisions under public security against the key accused in the 2008 Mumbai attack, a day after a court gave him bail sparking outrage in India.
Lakhvi (54) was detained for three months under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
“Lakhvi was to be freed from Adiala Jail Rawalpindi today morning but the government detained him there for three months under the 16 MPO,” Prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI, adding the Pakistan government had also informed India about this.
Lakhvi was granted bail by Islamabad Anti-Terrorism Court on Thursday due to lack of evidence against him.
The order of detention was handed over to Adiala Jail superintendent before Lakhvi’s counsel could show his bail order to jail authorities.
The prosecution chief further said that the government had decided in principle to challenge the trial court’s decision in the high court.
“We have prepared an appeal against the ATC order and file it on coming Monday,” he said.
The decision to release Lakhvi has drawn sharp criticism from India and surprised many for its timing, just days after Taliban massacred 148 people, mostly schoolchildren, in Peshawar.
“The Nawaz Sharif government also got upset over the ATC decision as it had to face criticism from India on its policy on war on terror at the time when it is making its strong resolve to crush terror networks from its soil,” a source in interior ministry said.
He said the government had to take a prompt decision to detain Lakhvi before he was released from jail to avoid it from further embarrassment.
Lakhvi was granted bail a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif pledged to announce a “national plan” to tackle terrorism within a week, saying “this entire region” should be cleaned of terrorism.
“The matter was brought to the notice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who immediately ordered detention of Lakhvi,” the source said.
The ATC Islamabad decision had surprised the prosecution lawyers who said still 15 or so witnesses were to be produced against the seven accused of the Mumbai terror attacks including Lakhvi before it granted him bail.
Since the trial began in 2009, the prosecution had produced 46 witnesses.
Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum have been charged with planning, financing and executing the the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.