Reacting sharply to the grant of bail, India sent its High Commissioner in Islamabad to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry to register a protest. “This has reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists and those who have carried out attacks or are posing a threat to India are being dealt with differently, and emphasised that this is a most negative development in so far as bilateral ties are concerned, ” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
In Paris Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Lakhvi’s release was discussed at the delegation level, and the French government had shared India’s concerns over its impact.
Pakistan’s spokesperson blamed India for what she called “inordinate delays in extending cooperation” that “weakened the prosecution”.
More accused could get bail
The release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused in the Mumbai terror siege, could pave the way for bail for the other six accused in the case, dealing a serious setback to the trial, prosecution officials told The Hindu on Friday.
In March, the External Affairs Ministry had summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Delhi, and issued a strong protest, as it had when the court had first granted Lakhvi bail last December. While the Pakistani government counsel tried to counter the order with a detention order under the Public Safety Act, reviving an old kidnapping case to keep Lakhvi in custody, those were subsequently stuck down by the court.
Prosecution officials said they still had an appeal pending in the Islamabad High Court and Lakhvi could be re-arrested if his bail was cancelled by that court. Lakhvi, who came out of court declaring victory and pumping his fist in a defiant gesture, was taken to a “secret and secure” location by Jamaat-ud-Dawa cadres who were in court on Friday.
While granting Lakhvi’s bail plea, Judge Anwar-ul-Haq of the Lahore High Court criticised the Pakistan government for failing to provide “sensitive” information on Lakhvi.