Pakistan appeal against bail for Mumbai attacks 'mastermind'

Fire continues at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the terrorist attacks in Mumbai - 27 November 2008 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The attacks lasted almost 60 hours with militants killing several guests at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Pakistan is set to challenge the bail granted to a man accused of being behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of seven men facing trial over the attacks in the Indian city, was granted bail by a court in Islamabad on Thursday.

Mr Lakhvi remains in custody for now, however, after Pakistani authorities issued a three-month detention order.

The attacks in Mumbai, which left 165 people dead, damaged peace efforts between India and Pakistan.

The decision to grant Mr Lakhvi bail came a day after Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif vowed to end terrorism in Pakistan.

Mr Sharif's comments followed the deadliest ever attack by the Taliban in Pakistan in which 141 people, mostly children, were killed at a school in Peshawar.

Correspondents said the decision to allow Mr Lakhvi bail was embarrassing for the Pakistani authorities, who are under pressure to bring suspects in the case to justice.

'Huge shock'

A Pakistani government prosecutor said Friday that he would be submitting an appeal to the high court in Pakistan's capital.

"I am completing all the legal formalities and then I will challenge this order in Islamabad on Monday," prosecutor Mohammad Azhar Chaudhry told reporters.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Lakhvi is said to be head of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, who the Mumbai attacks were blamed on

Thursday's decision to grant Mr Lakhvi bail drew swift condemnation from India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the move came as a "huge shock", especially with Pakistan still in mourning for the school attack in Peshawar.

"Pakistan has been informed of our concerns," Mr Modi said in parliament on Friday.

Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India's foreign ministry, said that despite repeated assurances, the case against the suspects was moving at a "glacial pace".

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and his co-accused were arrested in 2008 and had filed bail applications on 10 December.

Mr Lakhvi is accused of heading the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, who was blamed for the attacks in Mumbai.

It remains unclear on what grounds the court ordered Mr Lakhvi's bail.

According to his lawyer, Mr Lakhvi was told to pay surety bonds worth 1m rupees ($15,800; £10,100) before being released.

The lawyer, Raja Rizwan Abbasi, told reporters that bail had been granted because the evidence against Mr Lakhvi was "deficient".

But on Friday, he confirmed the authorities had detained his client for a further three months under a public order act.

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