26/11 case: Pak judge adjourns trial for a week
Islamabad: Just a day after India pushed for a speedy trial of the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court Saturday adjourned for a week the 26/11 case involving seven suspects, including LeT`s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, as prosecution witnesses were not available to record their testimony.
Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman adjourned the trial till September 15 during a hearing held behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi after prosecutors told him that four prosecution witnesses were currently out of the country.
Four officials of the Federal Investigation Agency were scheduled to record their testimony during today`s proceedings.
The prosecutors told the judge that the officials were currently abroad for some official work, sources said.
At the last hearing on September 1, an FIA official had told the court how funds were transferred from Pakistan to the US to acquire Voice over Internet Protocol connections that were used by the terrorists who stormed India`s financial hub in November 2008 and killed 166 people.
The official had said that an amount of USD 250 was wired to a New Jersey-based firm to buy the VoIP connections.
He said the accused were involved in transferring the funds from Pakistan to the US.
The official also submitted records of the financial transaction in court.
The last hearing had been the first substantial one this year in the case against the seven accused, including Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Lakhvi.
The suspects have been charged with planning, financing and facilitating the attacks.
Indian sources said Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai raised the issue of terrorism "in great detail" during his interaction with his Pakistani counterpart here yesterday, including the need to prosecute those accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said yesterday that Pakistan plans to send a second judicial commission to India to cross-examine key witnesses in the Mumbai attack case to speed up the prosecution of the seven suspects.
Malik said the Pakistan government had requested its Indian counterpart to allow a second commission to visit Mumabi and was awaiting a response.
"Once the commission is allowed to visit and cross-examine the witnesses, we can accelerate the prosecution of the suspects here," he said.
Responding to India`s criticism of tardy progress in the trial, Malik said: "It is not a slow process, it is a legal process."
The report of the first judicial commission that was sent to Mumbai to investigate the incident in March was rejected by the anti-terrorism court as members of the panel were not allowed to cross-examine the Indian witnesses.
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