NEW DELHI: India on Friday asked Pakistan to ensure immediate reversal of the bail granted to Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi as an outraged Parliament denounced the development, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said has come as a "shock".
Sinking their political differences, members cutting across party lines in Lok Sabha condemned the development and wanted the government to take all necessary steps to ensure punishment to the perpetrators of the heinous crime committed on November 26, 2008.
As members were expressing their views, Modi came to the House and spoke on the development. This was immediately followed by a detailed statement by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and a quickly-drafted House resolution.
Modi said the bail granted to Lakhvi on Thursday has come as a "shock" to all those who believe in humanity world over, particularly after every Indian shared the pain of the massacre of Pakistani children in Peshawar on Tuesday.
Lakhvi Again Detained
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who was granted bail, has now been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) at Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail, a media report said. A government source told Dawn that the government has also decided to appeal in superior courts against Lakhvi's bail. Read More
After bail was granted to Lakhvi, India immediately conveyed its sentiments in the "strongest terms" to Pakistan, he said and assured the House that the sentiments expressed by the members will be reflected in government's actions.
Modi referred to the massacre of children by terrorists in a school in Peshawar. "The pain felt in India was no less than that felt in Pakistan. Every Indian had tears in eyes... But immediately after that this kind of behaviour has come as shock to all those who believe in humanity," he said.
Swaraj said by allowing bail to Lakhvi, Pakistan has made mockery of its pledge to fight terrorism "without any condition or discrimination" and asserted that Pakistan should immediately get this decision overturned.
"We do not accept this fact that Lakhvi, who is the 26/11 mastermind and has been declared an international terrorist by the UN, is released on bail.... We demand that Pakistan government should have this decision overturned immediately.
We are keeping a watch on its response."
Asserting that it is Pakistan's responsibility to ensure punishment to those behind the Mumbai attack by furnishing evidence, she said, "We reject this argument that there is lack of adequate evidence."
The resolution adopted by Lok Sabha condemned the bail granted to Lakhvi and asked the government to take "all steps in its power, including through its relations with foreign countries, to put pressure on Pakistan to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion."
Noting that India's stand on the issue has been clearly spelt out to Pakistan, the External Affairs Minister said, "The Pakistan government, by letting Lakhvi go out on bail,
has made a mockery of its pledge to fight terror groups without any condition or discrimination... It emboldens terrorists who committed massacre of children in Peshawar."
Asserting "without doubt" that the conspiracy for Mumbai attack of 2008 was hatched in Pakistan, she said 99 per cent evidence is available in Pakistan and Pakistani investigators had six years to collect all evidence."
She emphasised that "it is their (Pakistan's) responsibility to ensure punishment to them (Mumbai attack accused) by furnishing evidence."
Referring to the massacre carried out by terrorists in Peshawar on Tuesday, Swaraj said, "We felt the pain of the families whose loved ones were killed in the attack. That day not only were their children killed but a part of humanity also died."
Immediately thereafter, the Lok Sabha, which had passed a resolution on Wednesday against terror attack in Peshawar, adopted a resolution, saying, "We express grave concern of the Indian people that just one day after the tragic killing of 141 innocent children and others in Peshawar, an accused terrorist could be released on bail by the same country.
"It seems that the lesson that there should be no compromise with terrorists has not been learnt," it said.
The resolution, read out by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, said, "Lok Sabha unanimously condemns the decision to grant bail to Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, accused conspirator in the murder of 166 individuals in Mumbai on November 26, 2008."
The House called upon the Pakistani government to "proceed strongly" with its declared intention to appeal the bail judgement, and "requests the government to ensure that on no account is such an individual permitted to be released."
Voicing concern over the numerous delays in prosecution and the "apathetic attitude" of the government of Pakistan, the resolution said it has resulted in the grant of bail to an accused terrorist.
Noting that people of India attach highest importance to bringing the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks, their masters in Pakistan and their accomplices, to justice, the House urged "the Government of India to take every step in its power, including through its relations with other countries, to put pressure on Pakistan to bring this matter to a satisfactory onclusion."