Islamabad: Pakistan government today submitted “strong evidence” against Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in the High Court here during an in-camera hearing in the detention case of the Mumbai attack mastermind.
Lakhvi's counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi protested the in-camera hearing saying, “The classified documents are available on the Internet and are just one click away from the reach of anyone and the government had wasted the time of the court.”
He also argued that the government had no “legal grounds” to detain his client under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
Notwithstanding Abbasi's arguments, Islamabad High Court Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi held the in-camera proceedings and observed, “As the government has submitted classified evidence against Lakhvi, the next hearing on Thursday (tomorrow) will be held in open.”
A law officer yesterday told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the government had “strong evidence” against Lakhvi which could not be shared in open proceedings.
He requested the court to hold in-camera proceedings so that the government could present the classified evidence against the accused, justifying its decision to detain him under MPO. Judge Qureshi had accepted government's plea.
The IHC has taken up the case on the direction of the Supreme Court which earlier had set aside its decision to suspend the government's order to detain Lakhvi under MPO.
A two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja had referred the case back to the IHC for a “complete hearing” before giving a final decision.
The apex court had observed that the IHC seemed to have taken the decision in haste as it did not even hear the government's arguments.
On December 18, 2014, an anti-terrorism court granted bail to Lakhvi, who was involved in planning, financing and executing the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008.
The Pakistani government, however, detained him the next day under MPO but IHC Judge Qureshi suspended Lakhvi's detention due to “weak legal ground”.
Just before he was to be released from Adiala Jail Rawalpindi, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping an Afghan national named Muhammad Anwar Khan.
Last week Lakhvi got bail from a local court of Islamabad in the abduction case.
Lakhvi and six others—Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attacks in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
Lakhvi was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the case. The trial has been underway since 2009.