Yesterday I mentioned the curious fact that NAB has submitted a report to the Supreme Court including cases for which the agency admits it has “no details regarding to the dates of filing complaint, enquiry and investigation”. These are corruption cases for which complaints have been allowed to continue over the accused for decades with no resolution despite the fact that even agencies admit a lack of hard evidence.
Now I would like to compare to another case that we are told lacks evidence: Allegations against Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Sartaj Aziz has once again asked for more evidence to against Lakhvi in order to conclude the case. This is important because government is not saying there is no evidence. Actually, the fact is that Lakhvi has been arrested and detained multiple times on orders of the Court. This alone suggests that there was sufficient evidence to frame specific charges arrest him.
Further reason to believe the government is in possession of pretty damning evidence is a report from earlier this year in which it was admitted that the government objected to IHC granting bail to the accused and presented evidence before the court supporting its position that Lakhvi was too dangerous to be allowed to roam free.
The federal government submitted on Tuesday some ‘classified documents’ before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) during an in-camera hearing on the petition of the alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi to defend his detention under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
IHC Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi held over two-hour-long in-camera session on the request of Additional Attorney General Afnan Karim Kundi.
There was enough evidence that even Supreme Court overturned Lakhvi’s bail and ordered him detained.
Aside from this evidence against him, there are also damning circumstances that must be given some weight such as the fact that prosecutors have been receiving threats for continuing to pursue the case.
In the petition, the FIA’s special prosecutor claimed that, “The fact remained that being the prosecution in such cases has been the most difficult job in our country for the last many years.” The petition further states, “Even in this case, the prosecutors have been receiving threats on their cellphones during the proceedings which were duly conveyed to the concerned authorities. The witnesses are also not protected and were reluctant to depose against the accused persons in the given situation.”
Neither has the accused done himself any service, either. Given the opportunity to clear his name by submitting a voice sample, Lakhvi has defiantly refused.
Compare these two situations: Politicians endlessly badgered over complaints for which agencies admit they have no details, and an accused terrorist who is arrested and detained based on details presented by the government. Who do we give the benefit of doubt, and who do we assume is guilty until proven innocent? And what does that say about us?