India blames Pakistan for granting bail to Lakhvi, calls it unfortunate

New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday blamed Pakistan for the bail granted to Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, saying there might be some shortcomings on the part of the prosecution in taking forward the case.

Terming the bail to Lakhvi as "very unfortunate" as it came just two days after the terror attack in Peshawar where over 130 schoolchildren were killed, he hoped that the Pakistan government will approach a higher court against the lower court order and ensure its cancellation.

"There might be be some shortcomings on the part of the Pakistan government somewhere or could be due to some other reasons (the bail was granted)," he said at a hurriedly called press briefing, hours after a Pakistani court gave bail to LeT operations commander Lakhvi, currently lodged at a jail.

According to Lakhvi's counsel advocate Raja Rizwan Abbasi, bail was granted as "evidence against Lakhvi was deficient".

Singh said India had pursued the Mumbai attacks case meticulously and that resulted in fast trial and delivery of justice to the case with the hanging of one of the terrorists Ajmal Kasab.

 India blames Pakistan for granting bail to Lakhvi, calls it unfortunate

Union home minister Rajnath Singh. PTI/File image

"But it is not happening in Pakistan. We have given enough evidence against the terrorists," he said.

Singh said that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had asserted that operations against terror elements will continue in his country till terrorism ends.

"So, I hope that the Pakistan government will appeal in a higher court so that Lakhvi's bail is cancelled," he said.

The Home Minister also demanded that India's most wanted terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Sayeed, should be handed over to it.

"Pakistan should hand over our most wanted terrorists. This has been our continuous stand," he said.

Singh said he would speak to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj so that New Delhi takes up the issue with Islamabad strongly.

Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's conversation with his Pakistani counterpart in the aftermath of the Peshawar incident, he said Modi did whatever a Prime Minister should do after such a tragedy.

"Not only people of Pakistan, but people of India are equally hurt over the killings of so many innocent children," he said.

Replying a question about Hafiz Sayeed's threat to India, Singh said "India is not scared of any threat".

The Ministry of External Affairs was quite miffed at the Pakistani court's decision and in a statement said:

"The grant of bail to Lakhvi will serve as a reassurance to terrorists who perpetrate heinous crimes. India can't accept that Zakiur Lakhvi, a key conspirator of Mumbai attacks and a UN designated terrorist, is being released on bail. India calls upon Pakistan to immediately take steps to reverse this decision, asserting there can be no selective approaches to terrorism. Given the scale of the tragedy Pak faced in recent days, it is incumbent on it to realise no compromise can ever be made with terrorists."

Public prosecutor in the Mumbai terror attack case Ujjwal Nikam termed the bail to Lakhvi as a "setback" and asked Pakistani authorities to ensure it was cancelled.

"It is really a big setback as with Lakhvi on bail prosecution witnesses will not like to come forward and give evidence," he said reacting to a Pakistani Anti-Terrorism Court granting bail to the LeT operations commander.

"If Pakistan wants to fight terrorism, they should fight terrorism emanating from inside first of all because this problem has been cropping up there for a long time. The Peshawar incident shook the world," he said.

"The Pakistani authorities should move a higher court for cancellation of the bail because Hafiz Saeed (LeT founder) and Lakhvi are the real terrorists (behind the Mumbai attack)," he said.

Rejecting claims by defence lawyers in Pakistan that there was no evidence of Lakhvi's involvement in the 26/11 carnage, Nikam said, "If they don't have evidence, why was he not released earlier? Government of India has provided enough evidence (to Pakistan)."

The Indian mission in Islamabad is also preparing a strong response against the grant of bail to Lakhvi.

The judge adjourned the hearing till 7 January.

AGENCIES

Updated Date: Dec 18, 2014 19:06:04 IST