ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government Saturday informed an anti-terror court hearing the Mumbai attack case involving LeT’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects that the latest Indian dossier on the 26/11 strikes said Ajmal Kasab could not be sent to Pakistan to testify against the accused.
A government lawyer appeared before Mr Justice Malik Muhammad Akram Awan, who is conducting the trial in the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for security reasons, and said India’s latest dossier had said that it would not be possible to send Kasab to Pakistan to join the court’s proceedings.
The government lawyer said the anti-terrorism court could now make a request for the Indian magistrates and a police officer who had recorded Kasab’s statement to come to Pakistan to testify.
The government too is looking into this matter and will make a request in this regard, the lawyer said.
Today’s proceedings were brief as lawyers across Punjab province and other parts of Pakistan are on strike to protest against Thursday’s suicide attack on the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore that killed 45 people.
After hearing the government lawyer, Mr Justice Awan adjourned the case and scheduled the next hearing for July 10.
Meanwhile, a notification issued on Saturday stated that Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Akhtar Awan would be the new special public prosecutor for the trial of the seven suspects.
The former special public prosecutor, Mr Malik Rab Nawaz Noon, recently died of a heart attack.
Pakistan had recently sought access to Kasab, a Pakistani national who has been convicted and sentenced to death by an Indian court for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to facilitate the trial of the seven accused.
It had also said that India should send the magistrates and the police officer who recorded Kasab’s confession to testify in the Pakistani court if access could not be granted to Kasab. The anti-terrorism court had earlier issued arrest warrants for Kasab and Fahim Ansari, an Indian national accused of involvement in the attacks who has been acquitted by a court in Mumbai.
Last week, the trial of the seven suspects was adjourned without any proceedings apparently due to concerns among Pakistani authorities that any adverse developments in the court could impact talks with India.
At that time, Home Minister Mr P Chidambaram was in Islamabad to attend a meeting of SAARC Interior Ministers and to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Mr Rehman Malik.
Indian officials have said they are “not satisfied” with the progress in the trial of the seven suspects and it is understood that Mr Chidambaram raised this issue with Mr Malik during their talks.
Mr Chidambaram is believed to have pressed for stronger action by Pakistan to bring to justice all planners, financiers and handlers of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai.