India on Friday lodged a strong protest over the release of Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, a prime accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, saying the ‘negative development’ reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists.
“Our High Commissioner has registered our strong concerns with the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan at the release of a principal accused in the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008,” the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said.
“He underlined that this has reinforced the perception that Pakistan has a dual policy on dealing with terrorists and those who have carried out attacks or are posing a threat to India are being dealt with differently and emphasised that this is a most negative development in so far as bilateral ties are concerned,” he said.
Lakhvi’s release not good for world: France
Fifty five-year-old Lakhvi, who guided 10 LeT gunmen from a control room in Pakistan during 26/11, walked free after being under detention for six years, a day after a Pakistani court ordered his release.
The issue also figured during the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Paris, and French President Francois Hollande, who described the Lakhvi’s release as ‘deeply shocking’.
Terming the release of Lakhvi as ‘unfortunate’, France said the development was not good for either India or the world.
The issue came up when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met a delegation of French lawmakers, led by National Assembly President Claude Bartolone.
“One of the members of the French delegation said the unfortunate release of Lakhvi in Pakistan was not good news for either India or the world,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters while briefing on the meeting.
“The French side expressed solidarity with India on this,” he added.
‘Double standards’ of Islamabad
Terming the release as an ‘insult’ to the 26/11 victims, India asked the international community to take note of Islamabad’s double standards.
“This is an insult to the victims of 26/11 terror attack. Global community must take note of Pakistan’s double standards in dealing with terrorism,” a senior Home Ministry official said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, on the sidelines of an event in Lucknow said, “India wants talks with Pakistan but the present development (release of Lakhvi) is unfortunate and disappointing. Such decisions affect mutual relations between two countries.”
India had on Thursday said that the UN-designated terrorist has ‘eroded’ the value of assurances repeatedly conveyed to it by Pakistan on cross-border terrorism.
Meanwhile, according to an assessment prepared by the security agencies, Lakhvi’s release poses serious threat to India and the country may have to brace for a spurt in terror acts and a major terror strike cannot be ruled out at this stage.
Official sources said for the last three months, a section of Pakistani establishment was trying every trick in the book to get Lakhvi out as the Lashkar-e-Taiba cadres need his expertise.
The assessment would be shared with country’s top leadership to decide the future course of action.