26/11: Lakhvi`s lawyers challenge Pak court ruling

Lawyers defending seven Pakistanis challenged an anti-terrorism court`s ruling that Ajmal Kasab and Fahim Ansari could be made part of legal proceedings in Pakistan.

Updated: May 07, 2011, 18:03 PM IST

Islamabad: Lawyers defending seven
Pakistanis, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi,
charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks today
challenged an anti-terrorism court`s ruling that Ajmal Kasab
and Fahim Ansari could be made part of legal proceedings in
Pakistan.

During proceedings held behind closed doors at the
Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, the defence lawyers filed a
petition listing their objections to an order issued by Judge
Rana Nisar Ahmed on Tuesday that backed the prosecution`s
contention that Kasab and Ansari could be made part of the
proceedings.

"In our arguments, we also presented other matters
that are objectionable to us," Shahbaz Rajput, one of the
defence lawyers, said.

The judge scheduled the next hearing in the case for
May 14. The defence lawyers pointedly asked the judge if
Kasab and Ansari were being jointly tried with the seven other
suspects in the anti-terrorism court.

"The judge acknowledged that their trial was not
being conducted jointly with the others," Rajput said.

He contended that the judge`s observation will help
in making progress in the trial of the seven accused, whom he
claimed had been "suffering without trial" for over two years.

In an order issued on Tuesday, Judge Ahmed had ruled
that an application filed by the defence lawyers, which stated
that no person could be tried twice for the same offence, was
not maintainable.

The defence lawyers have contended that Section 403 of
the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 13 of the Constitution
did not permit persons like Kasab and Ansari to be retried for
the same offence.

Kasab has been convicted and sentenced to death by a
special court in India.

The same court acquitted Ansari but he continues to be
in custody in connection with other cases.

The defence lawyers have contended that the trial of
the seven others suspects has been held up because prosecutors
could not determine the legal status of Kasab.

The anti-terrorism court had earlier ruled that Kasab
and Ansari could not be declared "proclaimed offenders" or
fugitives as they were not wilfully avoiding court proceedings
in Pakistan.

PTI