Lakhvi release hype affecting Pakistan judicial system: Basit

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Kolkata, March 18: Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit on Wednesday said the "hype" created over an Islamabad court ordering the release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was "indirectly affecting" the judicial process in Pakistan.

Participating in an interactive programme here, the envoy asserted that Pakistan "has changed" in the last decade and called for having faith in its judiciary.

Lakhvi release hype affecting Pakistan judicial system: Basit
"There is a judicial process in Pakistan like any other democratic country. The prosecution is doing its best, I won't like to jump the gun."

"Even if he is granted bail, why create hype, the trial hasn't stopped. We would like the trial to end as soon as possible. Don't judge us from a narrow prism, Pakistan has changed a lot in the last decade," said Basit during a three-day visit to Kolkata.

"By creating this hype, which in my view is not called for, you are indirectly affecting the judicial process in Pakistan. Let the judicial process take its course, we are doing our best," said Basit, who was summoned by the Indian external affairs ministry after the court order.

The Islamabad High Court on March 13 struck down the detention order of Lakhvi, who is said to have overseen the 2008 Mumbai attack that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead and brought India and Pakistan close to war.

Lakhvi, however, continues to be in detention following an order by the home ministry of Pakistan's Punjab province.

The envoy also dispelled notions that Pakistan was intentionally going slow on the trial.

"It takes time because the crime scene was in India. We got all the evidence from India... there are so many gaping holes... but I would not enter into that debate."

"Don't draw premature conclusions, terrorism is a huge problem for us. You may have your 26/11 but we have these almost daily," said Basit, adding that terrorism had destroyed the social and economic fabric of Pakistan.

The envoy insisted that India should have agreed to Pakistan's proposal for a joint investigation into the Mumbai attack.

Basit refused to comment on the recent release of Kashmiri separatist leader Masrat Alam.

"I won't like to comment on that because there are divergent views on this. So far as I get to know from media reports, the legal position was such that he could not be put behind bars anymore," said Basit.

Chairman of the Muslim League, a constituent of Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference, Alam was convicted for organising anti-India protests resulting in the death of 112 people in the Kashmir Valley in 2010.

He was released from Baramulla prison following the new Jammu and Kashmir government's policy to free political prisoners who do not face criminal charges.

IANS

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