NEW DELHI (TIP): It’s not only theLashker-e-Taiba (LeT) top boss Hafiz Saeedwho roams freely in Pakistan, but even hisnext-in-command Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi,imprisoned at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail for hisrole in the 26/11 attacks,moves out of theprison from time to time to visit his familyand friends. Lakhvi, who is treated as a VVIPwithin the confines of the high-securityprison, enjoys these outings under a thicksecurity cover facilitated by the jailauthorities, sources in the Indian securityestablishment have told TOI.Lakhvi, who was the prime motivator ofthe 26/11 attack module, monitoring thecarnage from the LeT control room in Karachiand giving blow-by-blow instructions to theterrorists, is using as many as five differentcellphones inside the jail to communicate withLeT commanders and cadres.
According tointelligence sources, he freely makes calls tokeep tab on the outfit’s operations and givespep-talks to his terror associates.According to a senior official of the securityestablishment, Lakhvi’s detention in AdialaJail is even better than a house arrest. While aperson under house arrest cannot leave thepremises of his detention or receive anyvisitors unless authorized by the detainingauthority, Lakhvi not only has a smooth trafficof visitors — most of them terrorcommanders seeking his guidance and advice— but is also allowed to use vehicles andsecurity for meeting his family and terrorassociates outside the jail premises.
It is suspected that the child that Lakhvireportedly fathered during his incarcerationwas thanks to these “outings”. Abu Jundal, the26/11 handler who was deported last year andis on trial here, had told his interrogators herethat Lakhvi, during one of their meetings inAdiala Jail, had informed him that the prisonauthorities had allowed his wife to visit him inprison in 2010 to perform conjugal rights,following which their son was born.The secretly-arranged “paroles”notwithstanding, Lakhvi’s stay at the jail is noless comfortable. His “cell” in Adiala Jail isreally a well-appointed suite with all modernfacilities, including a television set. He hasaccess to newspapers and moves within thejail without any restrictions.
“He is kept ingood humour by the jailors and prison staff,under what the security agencies believe arestanding instructions from Pakistani stateagencies like the ISI,” a senior intelligenceofficer told TOI.In fact, the jail authorities even arranged abirthday celebration for their most-covetedprisoner sometime last year.Agencies here believe that Lakhvi wasarrested as Pakistan was under pressure fromthe Western nations to bring the 26/11masterminds to book. Arresting Saeed, whoenjoys the confidence of both the PakistaniArmy and the ISI, was not an option. So, aconvenient arrangement was worked out toshowcase Lakhvi’s arrest as Pakistan’scommitment to bring 26/11 perpetrators tobook, while ensuring that he was not isolatedfrom his family or his ‘work’ as a terrorcommander.