Refuting media reports about the largesse extended to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in prison, Islamabad’s top envoy in New Delhi Abdul Basit on Tuesday called on India to respect Pakistan’s legal system and the outcome of the Mumbai attack case.
In an interview with Karan Thapar, the high commissioner said “We must not question how the Court chooses to hear a case and what process the trial takes,” adding that India should wait for the end of the trial without commenting on the process or speculating about the outcome.
Last month, the Lahore High Court released Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the suspected mastermind of Mumbai terror attack, prompting India to announce that it would raise the issue of his release at the UN Sanctions Committee.
In its ruling, the court said that Lakhvi’s detention was ‘unjustified’ as prosecutors failed to marshal the case against him over the attack that killed 166 in the heart of India’s financial capital.
When questioned about the perks provided to the LeT leader in prison, which include access to a mobile phone, internet, visitors and conjugal rights, Basit rebutted the news reports as spurious.
He said Indian preconceptions about Pakistan’s willingness to prosecute terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks were unfounded and rejected the assertions that Pakistan had done little to challenge the technical grounds on which evidence of Lakhvi’s instructions could not be accepted in a court of law as evidence.
On the dialogue between India and Pakistan, the envoy said that hopes of reviving the stalled negotiation process between the two sides had faded after India took the unilateral decision to call off secretary level talks following his meeting with Hurriyat leaders in August last year.
However, Basit highlighted that a recent news report had suggested that India and Pakistan had resolved the Hurriyat issue by agreeing to the modus operandi that Pakistan’s High Commissioner could meet with Hurriyat leaders anytime as long as he did not meet them before scheduled talks. The diplomat said Kashmir continues to dominate Indo-Pakistan relations.