Pakistani court again orders release of Mumbai attack plotter


Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi (center), praying with Hizbul Muhajideen emir Syed Salahudeen (right).

Yet again, a Pakistani court has ordered Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the architects of the 2008 suicide assault in Mumbai, India that resulted in the deaths of more than 160 people, to be released from prison.

Lakhvi, a military commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit that has close links to al Qaeda and is supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate, the military, and elements of the government, was reluctantly identified by the Pakistani government as being the “mastermind” of the Mumbai assault. The charge was leveled just weeks after the attack.

This is the third time a Pakistani court has ordered his release since December 2014 (see this timeline). And even while in custody, he was “living a life of comfort:”

“He [Lakhvi] can receive any number of guests, any time of the day or night, seven days a week,” a jail official told BBC.

It was further alleged in the report that inside his jail cell, Lakhvi enjoys the use of a television, mobile phone and internet access. Moreover, none of his visitors have to identify themselves to jail officials.

Lakhvi follows his boss, Hafiz Saeed, who has been detained numerous times for various offenses, only to be released from custody without consequence. And Saeed, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist who has a $10 million bounty on his head, also rode out his “detention” by living comfortably at home.

The Pakistani military and government claim to be committed to fighting jihadist terrorist groups, but in reality they only target the jihadist organizations that don’t conform to the government’s wishes and insist on attacking the state. Until Pakistan is serious about dismantling the terrorist groups it helped create as part of its program of strategic depth against India, the country will remain a state sponsor of terrorism.

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Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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