Indian witnesses essential for 26/11 trial: Pakistan

Pak told India that appearance of two main Indian witnesses in a Paki court was most imp for trial.

New Delhi/Islamabad: Pakistan has told India that the appearance of two main Indian witnesses in a Pakistani court was most important for the trial of the seven 26/11 accused to continue and proposed that a commission may be formed to visit India to record the statements of the witnesses.

"I explained (to Indian Home Minister) Mr.Chidambaram that the appearance of two main Indian witnesses in Pakistan Court is most important 4 trial process to continue here," Pakistan`s Interior Minister Rehman Malik wrote in a tweet posted on the micro-blogging site.

Malik was referring to telephonic conversation he had with Chidambaram Saturday. "We discussed security issues and the ongoing trial here in Pakistan, of those accused in the Mumbai blast," he said.

"I also proposed that a commission may be formed to visit India and record the statements of the witnesses," he wrote.

Malik, who boasts of 5,000 followers on Twitter, "appreciated" the sympathy and condolences extended by Chidambaram on the loss of lives and property due to the devastating floods in Pakistan.

Malik met Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal in Islamabad Saturday and discussed Pakistan`s progress in the trial of the seven suspects being tried for their role in plotting the Mumbai carnage Nov 26-29, 2008.

After the meeting, Malik told reporters that the trial of Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects was "stuck" over the issue of Indian witnesses testifying via video-conferencing as this was not permitted under Pakistani laws.

India had proposed that the testimony of the two witnesses -- the magistrate who recorded the confessional statement of lone surviving Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab and the police officer who investigated the incident -- should be recorded via video conferencing for the purpose of the trial.

The Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the trial is yet to decide on India`s proposal that the witnesses should testify via video-conferencing "and the trial is stuck", he said.

"We want this trial to go ahead. That`s why I have proposed to India, while talking to Chidambaram, that how about if we move our case to our trial court and request them to appoint a commission?"

Prosecutors will approach the trial court Monday with a petition on forming the commission, Malik said.