Reportedly, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) will be conducting daily hearings in the Zakir-ur-Rehman Lakhvi trial on the request of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) – the body entrusted with investigation and prosecution. Mr Lakhvi is accused of being the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks primarily by India. While India maintains that it has provided sufficient evidence to Pakistan in relation to Mr Lakhvi’s involvement, the courts have not been able to convict him on any of the charges due to “lack of evidence” against him. What may be common knowledge still needs to be established beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. The courts are bound by law to consider evidence and evidence alone to determine the fate of the accused. In the absence of such, the accused will walk scot-free no matter how poor his reputation or the views of the international community.

During a hearing of the case in the IHC on January 19, FIA prosecutor Chaudhry Azher told the two-member bench that two countries, presumably UK and US, had requested Pakistan to hand over Mr Lakhvi to India. The court maintained that it had “no concern over this diplomatic issue, which falls in the domain of the federal government.” On December 18, 2013, an anti-terrorism court granted bail to Lakhvi, which caused uproar in India. The very next day, the government got Mr Lakhvi detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO), which is heavily relied on in Pakistan to keep militants in custody in the absence of the evidence required to secure a conviction. To prevent his release, Mr Lakhvi was charged in a 6 year old kidnapping case involving an Afghan national identified as Muhammad Anwar Khan. Again, there wasn’t enough evidence to establish a case against Mr Lakhvi. Now, the government has challenged the ATC’s decision to grant him bail in the 2008 Mumbai attack case and sought an extension in his detention. The court has extended his detention under MPO till February 18.

The ongoing trial will continue to draw attention from India and other countries, which are convinced that Mr Lakhvi, as commander of the LeT, planned the attack on Mumbai. The case is being viewed as a test of Pakistan’s resolve and policy against terrorists. However, the way the trial has proceeded so far, and considering the state of the investigating authorities, it is highly unlikely that Mr Lakhvi will be convicted.