Mumbai attacks trial: Pakistani judge changed for eighth time

The judge hearing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial has been changed for the eight time. Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi of the anti-terrorism court judge was replaced once again where the trial is on for the seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in attacks in Mumbai.

Updated: Jan 15, 2015, 00:34 AM IST
Mumbai attacks trial: Pakistani judge changed for eighth time

Islamabad: The judge hearing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial has been changed for the eight time. Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi of the anti-terrorism court judge was replaced once again where the trial is on for the seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in attacks in Mumbai.

Zaidi had been conducting the attacks trial for the last three months and was the one who granted bail to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi - mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.

The judge was changed today as the case was transferred to another court for hearing.

To a question as to why the case was transferred to another court, Azhar, who is also a special prosecutor of the Federal Investigation Agency, said, "A total of 31 cases each have been divided between the ATC-I and ATC-II (Islamabad) by the judicial authorities and the Mumbai case is transferred to the latter".

Besides Zaidi, Attiquer Rehman, Shahid Rafique, Malik Muhammad Akram Awan and Pervez Ali Shah were among the judges who remained associated with the Mumbai trial since it began in 2009.

No proceedings of the case were held today after the judicial authorities notified transfer of the case to the ATC-II. The court office adjourned the hearing till January 28.

Pakistan faced strong reaction from India following the bail of Lakhvi on December 18.

"Transfer of the case from Mr Zaidi may be seen in this backdrop," a source in the court said. He said the transfer of the case might cause further delay in the case.

Zaidi had cited "weak evidence, the registration of the FIR invoking irrelevant sections and hearsay evidence against the suspect" in his bail order.

He noted that the main evidence on the basis of which Lakhvi was implicated in the case was the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, who was executed in an Indian jail on November 21, 2012.

The evidence against Lakhvi was based on the statements of the officials of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) which apparently were 'insufficient' to refuse the grant of bail to the accused.

The government has challenged the trial court's decision to grant Lakhvi bail in the Islamabad High Court.

(With PTI inputs)