No Pak judge available for 26/11 case

The trial has been marred by delays and technical hitches since proceedings began in 2009.

Islamabad: The trial of LeT`s Zakiur Rehman
Lakhvi and six other Pakistani suspects charged with
involvement in the Mumbai attacks was on Saturday adjourned for a
week as no judge was available to conduct proceedings in the
Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court hearing the case.

Rana Nisar Ahmed, who had been hearing the case since he
was appointed judge of Rawalpindi`s anti-terrorist court no.
III in November 2010, was transferred shortly after the last
hearing on June 11.

No new judge has been appointed for the court though a
hearing was scheduled for today, sources said.

The case was placed before a duty judge, who adjourned it
till June 25, they said.

The sources said it was expected that a new judge would
be appointed before the next hearing.

Ahmed`s transfer marked the fourth change of the judge
conducting the trial of the Pakistani suspects.

Ahmed had also been conducting the trial of five suspects
charged with involvement in the 2007 assassination of former
premier Benazir Bhutto.

He was transferred hours after he issued a permanent
arrest warrant for former President Pervez Musharraf for
failing to cooperate with investigators probing Bhutto`s

Ahmed had constantly pushed prosecutors to ensure
Musharraf`s appearance in court.

Experts said Ahmed`s sudden transfer could affect
proceedings in the Mumbai attacks case as any new judge will
need time to acquaint himself with the details of the complex

The trial has been marred by delays and technical
hitches since proceedings began in 2009.

At least one of the three judges who previously heard the
case was changed after he received threats from militant
groups, sources said.

Shahbaz Rajput, one of the lawyers defending the seven
suspects, said the repeated changes of the judge was affecting
proceedings and delaying the case.

"The accused are suffering for no reason," he said.


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