A Pakistani anti-terror court conducting the trial of seven suspects charged with planning and facilitating the Mumbai attacks on Tuesday asked the government to respond to Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi's bail plea by July 17.
Lakhvi, the operations chief of the banned LeT, had filed an application for bail during the last hearing of the Mumbai attacks case on July 10.
Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan took up the application today. The judge directed the government to file its response to Lakhvi's application by July 17, when the court will take up the matter again.
Lakhvi's lawyer Khwaja Sultan told PTI that his client has sought bail due to the inordinate delay in the trial. He contended that no solid evidence had been presented against Lakhvi in the 19 months that he had been in custody.
The trial of the seven suspects has been mired in controversy and delays over the past few months. In recent weeks, proceedings have been stalled by the prosecution's efforts to gain access to Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national sentenced to death by an Indian court for his role in the Mumbai attacks, and Fahim Ansari, an Indian who was acquitted.
During the last hearing on July 10, the prosecution had objected to the bail plea filed by Lakhvi, saying the court should not take it up till Pakistani authorities gained access to Kasab and Ansari.