Pak judicial panel to arrive in Mumbai on Feb 3

A Pakistani judicial commission will arrive here on February 3 to record the statements of key persons involved in Mumbai attack probe.

Mumbai: A Pakistani judicial commission will
arrive here on February 3 to record the statements of key
persons involved in Mumbai attack probe.

Official sources said that officers of the crime branch
have been asked to provide assistance to the Pakistani
commission during their visit here for which the Bombay High
Court had recently given a go-ahead.

The commission will be recording the statement of Ramesh
Mahale, the 26/11 case investigating officer and R V
Sawant-Waghul, the Magistrate who recorded the confessional
statement of lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab.

statements of a few doctors of J J Hospital who treated Kasab
will also be recorded, the sources said.

All the statements would be recorded at Esplanade court
in south Mumbai, they said.

Pakistan has already issued a gazette notification on the
formation of the judicial commission and has listed the
members who will represent the Pakistan government.

The delegation will include Khalid Qureshi, the head of
the Federal Investigation Agency`s Special Investigation
Group, and Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry and Chaudhry Zulifqar-- the
two main prosecutors.

The commission will also have representatives of the
defence lawyers. Accordingly, five counsel of seven Pakistani
suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks had
informed the anti-terrorism court that they were prepared to
go to India.

The commission was announced by Pakistan in response to a
directive from the anti-terrorism court that is conducting the
trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including Lashkar-e-Taiba
commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, who have been charged with
planning and financing the attacks in 2008 that killed 166

The five lawyers were Lakhvi`s counsel Khwaja Sultan,
Riaz Cheema, Asam bin Haris and Fakhar-e-Hayat. The defence
team submitted the passports and other documents of the five
lawyers to the court.

During the Home Secretary-level talks held in New Delhi
in March last year, India had agreed to the Pakistani proposal
to host the judicial commission of that country as Islamabad
maintained that it was necessary to send the panel to India as
part of the judicial process in Pakistan.

Pakistan`s contention is that the charges against seven
LeT operatives, including its `operation commander` Lakhvi,
lodged in a jail there, are based on Kasab`s statement in
Mumbai and hence the magistrate and the IO`s statements are
necessary to submit before the anti-terror court.

The trial in the Rawalpindi court has been going on at a
snail`s pace and Indian officials are not very optimistic that
the guilty will be punished any time soon. Curiously, four
judges of the court have been changed ever since the trial
began in early 2009. Shahid Rafique is the fifth judge to hear
the case.


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