Islamabad: The trial of seven Pakistanis, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks was on Saturday adjourned till July 20 as four witnesses in the case could not appear before the court.
Anti-Terrorism Court judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi today held the hearing in Islamabad and adjourned the case after four witnesses - Hamza Bin Tariq, Muhammad Ali, Mohammad Saifullah Khan and Umer Draz Khan - who were summoned by the court for cross examination did not turn up.
Witnesses informed the court through an application that they cannot afford travel expenses (from Karachi to Islamabad). They requested the court to provide them with travel expenses.
The judge again issued summons to them and directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to make arrangement for their travel to Islamabad.
Ziadi adjourned the hearing for two weeks (July 20).
Earlier in their testimony, these four witnesses had told the court that one of the seven accused and 10 other people had bought 11 inflatable boats for `fishing`.
The witnesses also identified 10 men, including Amjad Khan and Atiqur Rehman, who were allegedly involved in planning and executing the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
In the last hearing, Judge Zaidi had refused to hold the hearing in Islamabad till the Nawaz Sharif government provided him a `foolproof security` from his residence (Sialkot district) to court (Islamabad).
The case was shifted from an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi to a newly established anti-terrorism court in Islamabad three weeks ago.
The Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court had been handling the Mumbai attacks case since 2009 though the judge has been changed five times.
Prosecution lawyer Chaudhry Azhar was absent again in today`s hearing. He informed the court through FIA Inspector Muhammad Tariq that he cannot not appear before the court as long as the government provides him security.
He also cited assassination of prosecution chief Chaudhry Zulifqar on May 3 because of `no security`. The government has yet to nominate new prosecution chief in the case.
Defence lawyer Riaz Cheema told PTI after the hearing that due to absence of prosecution lawyers, the dossier which the Indian government had sent to Pakistan regarding the travel of Pakistani judicial commission could not be presented to the court today.
"The departure of the commission may be further delayed because of these issues," Cheema said.