ISLAMABAD - A Division Bench (DB) of Islamabad High Court (IHC) will take up today (Monday) a petition seeking cancellation of bail granted to operational chief of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi in Mumbai terrorists attack.

The DB comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will conduct the hearing of petition moved by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) pleading the court to cancel the bail granted to Lakhvi by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Islamabad.

The FIA had filed the appeal before the IHC seeking to cancel the grant of post arrest bail to Lakhvi, an alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks of November 26, 2008.

Previously, ATC judge Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi had granted post arrest bail to Lakhvi against one million surety bonds on December 18, 2014. Later federal government had issued Lakhvi’s detention orders under section ‘3’ of the maintenance of public order (MPO) that were also suspended by an IHC bench on December 29, 2014.

 FIA in this petition through its special public prosecutor has maintained before the IHC that prosecution in terrorism related cases is not an easy task and delay in prosecution of the Mumbai terror suspects could not be attributed to the FIA prosecution alone.

The investigation agency adopted in the petition that delay in prosecution of this case could be numerous applications before the ATC by the terror suspects.

The prosecutor contended that prosecution in terrorism related cases are not an easy thing as the prosecutors had been receiving threats from the terrorists.

Moreover, the witnesses in this case also feel hesitant to testify against the accused due to security apprehensions.

The FIA in its petition argued that the ATC judge overlooked the evidence submitted in the court by FIA. The FIA had submitted forensic evidence and DNA reports.

The petition stated that the accused Lakhvi is an operational commander of the banned militant outfit and a mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks. The FIA prosecutor expressed his apprehension that if the bail may not be cancelled, Lakhvi could affect the outcome of this case.

The petitioner said that the ATC judge had not mentioned solid reasons for granting bail to Lakhvi. Therefore, FIA prayed to the IHC to cancel the bail of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

Earlier, while granting bail to Lakhvi, the ATC judge had observed, “in the last six years, the court has only examined 50 prosecution witnesses (PWs) while 100 more were yet to be examined that may take another ten years for prosecution.

That as per section 21-D sub-section 4(c), the court shall have to regard the time which the accused person has already spent in custody and the time which is likely to be spent in custody if is not admitted to bail.”

The ATC had further noted, “the court has to consider the provisions of section 2(D), 4(C) of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.

The matter brings this to the ambit of further inquiry in proviso 2 of section 497 of CrPC. The ATC observed that it is an admitted principle of law that when there is a scope for further inquiry bail cannot be withheld as a punishment.”