ISLAMABAD (AFP) – A Pakistani court Tuesday remanded the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks in police custody for two days in a kidnapping case, a day after another court approved his release.
It is the latest round in a two-week tussle over the detention of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused over the terror siege in India’s commercial capital. The affair has worsened already tense ties with India.
The attacks which left 166 people dead 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.
A court granted Lakhvi bail on December 18, drawing an angry response from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After that ruling, authorities detained him under a public order law. But on Monday a judge suspended his detention and set bail terms.
At Tuesday’s hearing police Inspector Mohammad Arshad told the court Lakhvi was accused of kidnapping a man six and a half years ago.
The court remanded Lakhvi in police custody for two days for further investigation, court officials and defence lawyer Rizwan Abbasi told reporters.
Lakhvi was brought to court surrounded by police commandos and paramilitary Rangers. Dozens of police and Rangers were deployed outside the building and on its rooftop.
Abbasi accused the authorities of trumping up the kidnapping charge to keep Lakhvi in jail and avoid a major diplomatic incident with India.