By Rishi Iyengar
March 13, 2015

A Pakistan court initiated the release of alleged terrorist mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi on Friday, canceling the detention order under which he was being held.

Although the militant commander is still in prison of now, the ruling paves the way for his release, senior government lawyer Jehangir Jadoon told Agence France-Presse.

Lakhvi and six others have been accused of engineering the 2008 terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that killed 166 people, and Pakistan’s apparent reluctance to prosecute has increased friction in what is already a tense and fractious relationship with New Delhi. Lakhvi was granted bail in December but immediately held again under a fresh detention order following outrage from the Indian government. That order, which was struck down by the Islamabad High Court but reinstated in January by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, has now been suspended again, Jadoon said.

Predictably, India’s response was immediate and stern, with the government saying Pakistan has a responsibility to ensure Lakhvi doesn’t walk free.

“The overwhelming evidence against Lakhvi has not been presented properly before court by Pakistani agencies,” Kiren Rijiju, India’s Union Minister of State for Home, told Indian newspaper the Hindu. “There are no good terrorists or bad terrorists.”

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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