Islamabad releases suspected mastermind of Mumbai attacks
Pakistani authorities have let the suspected mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks out of jail on bail, drawing severe condemnation from India.
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who was released late Thursday, is the leader of the banned Pakistani militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
LeT’s charitable wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), has confirmed Lakhvi’s release from prison, but refused to elaborate on his exact whereabouts.
Four months ago, Lakhvi was granted bail but police kept him in detention under public order legislation until the Lahore High Court ordered his release. The bail set by court is two million rupees (USD 20,000).
Lakhvi is one of seven suspects charged in Pakistan over the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The suspects’ cases have made little progress in more than five years since the incident.
AFP cited an unnamed official from the Indian Home Ministry as saying that the news was disappointing and the release of Lakhvi is considered as an insult to the victims of the Mumbai attack.
Lakhvi’s bail order in December had triggered harsh reaction from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Back then he said the release of the alleged terrorist mastermind shocked “all those who believe in humanity.”
In this photograph taken on November 27, 2008, flames and smoke billow from the roof of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India, during an attack by suspected militants. ©AFP
On November 26, 2008, a heavily armed and well-drilled group of 10-commandoes, arrived in Mumbai by sea. The men split into groups to attack various targets. Their assault on the Taj Mahal Hotel, Oberoi Trident Hotel and a Jewish center went on for 60 hours and claimed 166 lives.
Nine members of the group were killed in the attacks. Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman in the attacks, was hanged in 2012.
India blamed LeT for the attacks.