Pakistani court has granted bail to one of the alleged masterminds of the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai, days after the massacre of 162 people, mostly children, at an army school in Pakistan’s Peshawar city.
Prosecutor Mohammad Chaudhry Azhar on Thursday confirmed to AFP news agency the court’s decision, that is likely to further aggravate tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi.
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was arrested in Pakistan in 2009 in connection with the series of attacks across the Indian financial capital. The 2008 attacks left at least 166 people dead and more than 300 others injured.
“Yes, the court has issued Lakhvi’s bail orders today, against a surety amount of one million rupees ($10,000),” defence lawyer Rizwan Abbasi told the Reuters news agency.
“Hopefully, he will be out on Monday or Tuesday.”
The carnage, one of India’s worst in recent years, was blamed on the banned Pakistani armed group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). During the 60-hour rampage, a group of gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and a Jewish centre.
The sole surviving gunman, Ajmal Kasab who has since been executed, had identified Lakhvi as the mastermind. Since then, Lakhvi has been held in jail in the city of Rawalpindi.
India’s Interior Minister Rajnath Singh said bail to Lakhvi was “unfortunate”.
“I think it shouldn’t have happened. I believe that all the evidences that have been provided by the Indian government are enough to convict Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and the Pakistan government should appeal against this in the upper court as soon as possible,” Singh said in New Delhi.
India’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin, said New Delhi calls upon the government of Pakistan to take steps to reverse the decision.