Pakistani security personnel escort Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (C) as he leaves the court in Islamabad on Tuesday
The question why Pakistani authorities are trying little to keep Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi, the prime accused of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, within the confines of prison is intriguing the Indian security establishment.Despite announcing that it does not differentiate between good Taliban or bad Taliban after massacre of over 130 children in a school in Peshawar, Pakistani prosecuting agency deliberately went slow twice to allow Lakhvi get out on bail in December. On both occasions, it was a high decibel protest by India and a frown by the US that forced Pakistan to keep the lid back on Lakhvi.Despite being under arrest for several years, Lakhvi continues to be the top commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and commands unconditional loyalty of terrorists for successfully launching 26/11 attack and various other operations in Kashmir. His command can bring several die hard terrorists under one roof and get assigned any task. Being the chief planner and executioner of 26/11 for which he meticulously worked for nearly two years, Lakhvi is well-versed with Indian targets and response system.Intelligence officers said there is a lurking fear that rogue elements within Pakistan Army and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) want to perpetrate another 26/11 kind of terror attack on India for which Lakhvi, who planned, directed and executed 26/11 from control room in Karachi, is the best bet and needs to be out of the prison.Even former Union home secretary, GK Pillai, who was one of the key officials involved in preparing a water tight dossier on Lakhvi and others, says he is apprehensive of such a move. “Otherwise why Pakistan is trying hard to let Lakhvi come out from jail now? I am convinced they will again try to get him out of the prison from the backdoor,” says Pillai.In the assessment of agencies, a big terror attack close to President Barack Obama’s India visit on Republic Day can bring international focus on Kashmir and also help Pakistan’s rogue state actors divert terrorists attention back to India.They have already sounded a high alert across all states and have asked metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Kochin etc. to keep the vigil very high till the end of January. Security of important places like hotels, schools, buildings and public place having large number of footfalls such as railway stations, malls, airports has been beefed up by positioning additional surveillance equipment besides posting large number of personnel from agencies and police for profiling suspects through CCTV cameras. In Delhi and Mumbai all top hotels are being kept under continuous watch.The scientific voice analysis test done with the help of the US clearly puts Lakhvi in the dock as his voice sample provided by Pakistan matches intercepts of voice from Karachi control room directing 10 terrorists during two days of mayhem in Mumbai in November 2008. “The voice matching leaves not even an iota of doubt to implicate Lakhvi. It was corroborated by Kasab’s statement that was further checked by Pakistan’s magistrate during his visit with other officials who have come to check the veracity of investigation done by India. Pakistan assured us that it will change the law to make voice sample admissible in the court but they have done nothing so far,” says Pillai.