Islamabad, April 10: Hours before Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi walked free on Friday, a leading Pakistani newspaper pulled up Islamabad for its failure to convict the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack.
After the Lahore High Court ordered him freed on Thursday, The Nation said in an editorial on Friday that the Lakhvi saga had come a full circle.
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"Lakhvi's conviction could have been the watershed moment this country needed in the struggle against extremism..."
The editorial said the U-turn vis-a-vis Lakhvi, who oversaw the massacre of 166 Indians and foreigners in Mumbai in November 2008, made all the anti-terrorism speeches by Pakistani leaders look hollow.
"The hypocrisy is so blatant that it insults the public's intelligence," it said.
"The original trial was stalled for years, with either the accused or the judge or the witness not present at the court premises due to 'security concerns'.
"It is astonishing that the state can manage a traditional military parade in the middle of a full-blown war against militants without a hitch but cannot provide enough security for a court trial."
The Nation pointed out how comfortable Lakhvi was in prison -- "a collection of rooms with open visiting hours and access to television and internet to determine where the government's loyalties lie.
"If the death of 132 children (at the hands of terrorists in Peshawar) cannot force the government to mend its way, it it hard to see what will."