ISLAMABAD (AFP) – A Pakistani court Thursday granted bail to the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, lawyers told AFP, prompting India to demand an appeal.
The 60-hour siege on India’s economic capital left 166 people dead and was blamed on the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused of masterminding events, was granted bail by a judge in the capital Islamabad.
“We had moved a bail application with the Islamabad anti-terror court on December 10, today the judge granted bail to my client after hearing arguments from both sides,” Lakhvi’s lawyer Rizwan Abbasi told AFP.
Prosecutor Mohammad Chaudhry Azhar confirmed the court had granted bail.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the decision was “very unfortunate”.
“India has given enough evidence (against Lakhvi). We expect the Pakistan government to appeal at the earliest,” he told journalists in Delhi.
The court’s ruling comes a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to crack down on terror groups in Pakistan, after Taleban gunmen massacred 148 people, mostly teenagers, at a school.
Sharif on Wednesday announced that a six-year moratorium on the death penalty would be lifted for those convicted of terror offences.
The horror of the Mumbai carnage played out on live television around the world, as commandos battled the heavily-armed gunmen, who arrived by sea on the evening of November 26.