Strong reactions over Lakhvi’s release

RSTV Bureau

Lakhvi_releaseA day after Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was released, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a veiled message to Pakistan, saying no country should provide shelter to terrorists but should punish them.

“There is a need for global action to deal with terrorism. All nations should commit that they will not provide shelter to terrorists but punish them,” PM Modi said at a joint press interaction with French President Francois Hollande after their talks.

India is not alone in slamming Lakhvi’s release. French President Francios Hollande said he understands anger in India over the release of a person who is responsible for such a reprehensible act, a reference to Lakhvi who was behind the attack in Mumbai in November 2008 that claimed 166 lives.

Hollande also thanked Prime Minister Modi for his “solidarity” over the Islamist attacks in the French capital in January.

“In the same vein, I express to you my indignation each time that a terrorist is freed while he still has responsibility for an abominable act,” Hollande said in Paris.

Earlier, terming the release of Lakhvi by Pakistan as “unfortunate”, French lawmakers said the development was not good for either India or the world.

On a two day visit to France, Modi discussed the issue of terrorism with his France counterpart Hollande in the context of recent attack in Paris and release of Lakhvi and decided to intensify cooperation against the menace.

“The world is facing many challenges. There is an upheaval in the world and all are affected . . . Terror is spreading in new forms in various countries,” the Prime Minister said.

France suffered in Paris when terrorists struck Paris in January and understands India’s “pain” over terrorism, he said.

“They agreed that India and France must intensify their cooperation within the framework of JWG on Counter-Terrorism, including on information and intelligence sharing on terror networks and work together to share experiences on dealing with the growing phenomenon of radicalisation,” a joint statement said after Modi and Hollande held wide-ranging talks.

Expressing grave concern over Lakhvi’s release, the US also said it has repeatedly asked Pakistan to follow through on its commitment to ensure justice for the 26/11 victims.

“We are gravely concerned about the release on bail of alleged Mumbai attack mastermind Zakir-ur-Rehman Lakhvi,” State Department Acting Spokesperson Jeff Rathke told reporters at his daily news conference.

“We have communicated that concern to senior Pakistani officials over the course of many months, and as recently as on Friday,” he said when asked about the release of Lakhvi by Pakistan.

Lakhvi, a close relative of LeT founder and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009, in connection with the 26/11 attack that claimed 166 lives. The trial has been underway since 2009.

LeT operations commander Lakhvi was released from a Pakistani jail after spending nearly six years in detention.