India has condemned Pakistan's release of a man accused of having masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people died. The case has further strained ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
India on Friday slammed the release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (pictured above, center), who Indian investigators say was the military chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the banned Pakistani militant group blamed for the deadly 2008 attacks.
"This is a very disappointing announcement. An insult to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attack. The global community should take serious note of Pakistan's double-speak on terrorism," said a spokesman for India's home ministry, who asked not to be named.
Lakhviwas released on Thursday,
according to an official at Adiyala Prison in the city of Rawalpindi, next to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.He had been granted bail in December
- a move that already provoked condemnation from India - but was held for four months under a series ofgovernment-imposed detention orders.
His release was conditional on a two million rupee ($20,000; 18,836 euros) bond.
Lakhvi is accused of having masterminded the attacks in Mumbai in late November 2008, in which ten gunmen infiltrated the financial capital from the sea, conducting gun and grenade attacks around various city landmarks for three days.
The attacks in Mumbai led to a rapid deterioration in relations between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
New Delhi says there is evidence that "official agencies" in Pakistan played a role in the attack, charges Islamabad denies.
Lakhvi and six other suspects have been charged in Pakistan in connection with the Mumbai attack, but their cases have made little progress.
tj/kms (AFP, Reuters)