A Pakistani court Monday suspended a detention order keeping the alleged planner of the Mumbai terror attacks in jail, possibly paving the way for his release, officials said.
The prospect of Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi going free presents an embarrassing turn of events for the Pakistani government that has vowed to crack down hard on terrorism following the Dec. 16 Taliban school attack in Peshawar that left at least 148 people dead, mostly schoolchildren. It also raises the prospect of a serious political conflict with India, which has long-accused Islamabad of being soft on its home-grown terrorists.
Lakhvi is one of seven men on trial in Pakistan in connection with the 2008 attack in the Indian city of Mumbai that killed 166 people.
Lakhvi is still in prison, pending the posting of his bail money, and Pakistani officials could try to fight the court’s decision. An condemnation by neighboring India, calling the development “extremely disturbing,” showed how contentious the issue remains.
The ruling came at a hearing in the capital of Islamabad, said prosecutor Jahanagir Jadoon.