ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court set aside on Wednesday an interim order of the Islamabad High Court suspending the detention orders of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, which had taken up an appeal filed by the federal government on Jan 1 against the suspension of detention orders also asked the IHC to start hearing from Monday Lakhvi’s pending application against his detention. The attorney general was ordered to appear before the high court on the day.

On Dec 29, the IHC had granted conditional release of Lakhvi by suspending his detention orders issued by the Islamabad district administration after an anti-terrorism court granted him bail on Dec 18. The following day, a civil judge gave Lakhvi’s custody to Islamabad police in connection with a six-year-old case.

The Supreme Court overturned the IHC order with the consent of Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt and Lakhvi’s counsel Chaudhry Afrasiab after reaching a conclusion that the high court might have issued the order in a hurry without giving proper right of hearing to the government.

The SC office was asked to dispatch a copy of the order to the IHC registrar so that he could place the apex court’s directive before the IHC chief justice and fix the matter on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had restrained a local magistrate from deciding until Wednesday the bail application of Lakhvi.

Lakhvi has been behind bars since Feb 19, 2009, after an FIR was registered with the FIA’s special investigation unit for allegedly training terrorists and facilitating the Mumbai attacks on Nov 26, 2008, in which 166 people were killed.

In its application, the government contended that in the aftermath of the Dec 16 Peshawar school attack there were apprehensions that Lakhvi might incite people to terrorist activities. Moreover, it said, there was a likelihood that the accused, along with other criminals, would cause damage to important government installations and other public places, resulting in breach of peace within the federal capital.

Possibility of any untoward incident could not be ruled out because Lakhvi was affiliated with a proscribed organisation, the application said.

Published in Dawn January 8th , 2014

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