Dec 18, 10:02 AM EST

Pakistani court bails out main suspect in Mumbai attack trial, defense lawyer says

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ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Thursday granted bail to the chief suspect in the Mumbai attack trial, a defense lawyer said, a decision immediately criticized by India.

The lawyer, Rizwan Abbasi, said the judge, Kausar Abbas, during a hearing in the garrison city of Rawalpindi found that there was not enough evidence to keep Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi in custody anymore.

The court session was closed to the media.

The 2008 attack in the Indian city of Mumbai killed 166 people.

New Delhi blames a Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attack, demanding those who orchestrated it be punished. Subsequently, Pakistan put seven men on trial on charges they assisted in siege, including Lakhvi, but the trial has not made any progress.

India has criticized Pakistan for not doing more to crack down on the militants blamed for the attack.

On Thursday, India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin, said Lakhvi was one of the key conspirators of the Mumbai attack.

In a statement, he urged Pakistan to reverse the decision and referred to the Taliban militant attack Tuesday that killed 148 people at a school.

"Given the scale of the tragedy that Pakistan itself has faced in recent days, it is incumbent on it to realize that no compromise can ever be made with terrorists," he said.


Associated Press Writer Ashok Sharma from New Delhi contributed to this report.

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