Bail to Lakhvi a setback: 26/11 prosecutor Nikam

Public prosecutor in the Mumbai terror attack case Ujjwal Nikam today termed as "setback" a Pakistan court's order releasing on bail top LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in the 26/11 case and asked Pakistani authorities to ensure it is cancelled.

"It is really a big setback as with Lakhvi on bail prosecution witnesses will not like to come forward and give evidence," he said reacting to a Pakistani Anti-Terrorism Court granting bail to the LeT operations commander.

Lakhvi is among the seven Pakistani nationals accused of planning and abetting the brazen terror attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 that left 166 dead, including foreigners.

"If Pakistan wants to fight terrorism, they should fight terrorism emanating from inside first of all because this problem has been cropping up there for a long time. The Peshawar incident shook the world," he said.

"The Pakistani authorities should move a higher court for cancellation of the bail because Hafiz Saeed (LeT founder) and Lakhvi are the real terrorists (behind the Mumbai attack)," he said.

Nikam, who had gone to Pakistan to monitor the progress of the trial in the 26/11 case, recalled a prosecutor in the case had been shot dead after his visit.

Gunmen riding a motorcycle had shot dead senior prosecutor in the 26/11 and Benazir Bhutto assassination cases, Chaudhry Zulfizar Ali, in the busy commercial area of Karachi Company in Islamadad last year.

"My counterpart in Pakistan who was public prosecutor trying this case was shot dead after our visit to Islamabad. Pakistani authorities should try and get Lakhvi's bail cancelled otherwise the witnesses will not have confidence in their minds," Nikam said.

Rejecting claims by defence lawyers in Pakistan that there was no evidence of Lakhvi's involvement in the 26/11 carnage, Nikam said, "If they don't have evidence, why was he not released earlier? Government of India has provided enough evidence (to Pakistan)."

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