The alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks was detained afresh for one month after a Pakistani court cancelled a detention order against him, his lawyer said yesterday.
It is the latest round in a tussle over Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused over the terror siege that left 166 dead, which has worsened already strained ties with India.
Lakhvi was granted bail by an anti-terror court in December, infuriating New Delhi, but quickly slapped with a detention order under public order laws.
The Islamabad High Court suspended that order, only for the Supreme Court to reinstate it in January.
On Friday the high court once again set aside the detention order, only for a new one to be issued hours later.
“The new order detaining Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi for one month was issued late on Friday,” Lakhvi’s lawyer Rizwan Abbasi said.
Abbasi claimed that the new order was “illegal, unconstitutional and contemptuous,” arguing that detention orders could not be issued repeatedly.
“We will challenge it in the high court.”
No Punjab officials were immediately able to confirm the issuance of any new order.
For now, Lakhvi remains in jail, but India has reacted angrily to news of his possible release.
Releasing Lakhvi would violate “Pakistan’s professed commitment to combat terrorism, including its recently stated policy of not differentiating amongst terrorists”, India’s foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said on Friday, adding that his government had “conveyed its outrage” to Pakistan.
Throughout the three-month back and forth over Lakhvi’s detention, he has never been let out of Adiyala Prison in Rawalpindi.
The Mumbai attacks were blamed on banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). India has long seethed at Pakistan’s failure either to hand over or prosecute those accused of planning and organising the violence.
Lakhvi and six other suspects have been charged in Pakistan but their cases have made virtually no progress in more than five years.
Delhi accuses Islamabad of prevaricating over the trials, while Pakistan has claimed India failed to hand over crucial evidence.