It pays to be Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. For the world he is a dreaded terrorist who masterminded and guided the horrific 26/11 attack that killed over 160 persons, but in Pakistan he is a VIP with benefits.
A fortress of security personnel around his mansion in Lahore, ISI and army officials at his beck and call are some of the few benefits that Lakhvi enjoys today. At this moment Lakhvi is at his bungalow surrounded by security guards living in comfort the bill which the government of Pakistan pays.
Pakistan's most important asset:
These details which have been prepared by our Intelligence Agencies do not come as any surprise. This was expected and the lackluster performance by the Government of Pakistan in trying to nail him was an indicator of how badly they wanted him in the thick of action.
Lakhvi has been instructed not to step out. The instructions are given only to ensure his protection. Apart from his own battery of soldiers from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba guarding him, he also has the benefit of the Pakistanis commandoes guarding him in plain clothes.
He has free access to the phone and all other privileges. The ISI has ensured that he stays connected with all his members. While he gives out advise to his soldiers, he has also been instructed not to do too much at this point in time.
A bungalow beyond reach:
The kind of security and surveillance that there is around the bungalow in which Lakhvi is residing has made it virtually impossible for anyone to penetrate. None are allowed inside the bungalow unless it is someone very senior from the ISI or the Lashkar.
Lakhvi has in the bungalow his family members and also a host of his close confidantes who hold regular meetings with him. These are normally strategy meetings with the top rung of the Pakistan establishment.
His family members have also been accorded similar treatment. The security cover around his family members is almost similar to what Lakhvi enjoys, Intelligence Bureau reports would suggest.
Calm before the storm:
Lakhvi is not the kind who will continue to sit quiet. He would be itching for a piece of the action and his first step would be to give a moral boost to the fading warriors of Kashmir.
For Lakhvi there is nothing more important than Kashmir. He has promised the liberation of Kashmir and the worry for the Indian forces is that the Lashkar fights with much more vigour when he is commanding the forces.
In addition to this the ISI also wants him to focus on the Afghan war as well. The Pakistan army is having a torrid time against the Tehrik-e-Taliban and they feel only a unified Lashkar can wage a battle against them.
Did he play a role in Kashmir recently?
There has been some heightened enthusiasm among militants and separatists in Kashmir off late. The release of Lakhvi from jail has given militants a boost. They have always known to have operated best under Lakvhi.
Hafiz Saeed was always an ideological head of the group but Lakhvi would lead by example by jumping into the battle field himself. He may have not spoken to any of the Kashmir militants after his release as he has been advised not to for now.
However his release in itself is a boost for the militants who are aware that sooner or later he will station himself in one of the Lashkar camps and guide operations like he used to do before his arrest.