An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has granted bail to a man accused of masterminding the deadly 2008 attack on Mumbai, India.
Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi is one of seven men charged with planning and helping to carry out the Mumbai attack that killed more than 160 people. The Associated Press reports that Judge Kausar Abbas found there wasn’t enough evidence to keep Lakhvi in custody. Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that federal prosecutors had opposed the bail plea.
Azhar Chaudhary, a government prosecutor, told India’s NDTV that the government “will appeal against bail plea and demand a stay order.”
Lakhvi was ordered to pay the equivalent of around $5,000 as bail.
The application for bail came yesterday as Pakistani lawyers were on strike to condemn a deadly terrorist attack this week on a school in the city of Peshawar.
India blames Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group, for the 2008 attack in Mumbai. Lakhvi was believed to be the group’s operational chief at the time. Pakistan arrested seven men, including Lakhvi, after the attacks, but as Dawn noted, proceedings in the trial have come to a standstill.
India expressed outrage at today’s decision.
Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, called on Pakistan to reverse the decision.
“The grant of bail to Lakhvi will serve as a reassurance to terrorists who [perpetrate] … heinous crimes,” he said.