Pak court summons 5 witnesses; adjourns 26/11 trial

The trial is being conducted behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpidni for security reasons.

Islamabad: A Pakistani court conducting the trial of seven suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks on Saturday adjourned proceedings till September 25 after summoning five prosecution witnesses to testify at the next hearing.

Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman of the Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court adjourned the case after admitting an application from Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi`s counsel Khwaja Haris Ahmed that said all prosecution witnesses testifying on the same subject should be summoned during the same hearing.

Ahmed told the judge that all prosecution witnesses related to a particular issue should be summoned during the same hearing for the convenience of both defence and prosecution lawyers, sources said.

Three officials of the Federal Investigation Agency ? Muhammad Nawaz, Imran Shah and Salimullah came to Adiala Jail where the trial is being conducted but were unable to testify today.

The judge asked them to appear along with other prosecution witnesses at the next hearing, sources said.

At a recent hearing, an FIA official told the court about the involvement of the accused in transferring funds to the US to acquire Voice over Internet Protocol connections that were used by the terrorists who stormed Mumbai in November 2008.

A total of 166 people were killed during the attacks blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The trial is being conducted behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpidni for security reasons.

Pakistani authorities recently increased security at the
prison after intelligence agencies reported that the Taliban could attack it to free militants being held there.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik recently said Pakistan plans to send a second judicial commission to India to cross-examine key witnesses in the Mumbai attacks case to speed up the prosecution of the seven Pakistani suspects.

He said the Pakistan government had requested its Indian counterpart to allow a second commission to visit Mumabi and was awaiting a response.
The report of the first judicial commission that was sent to Mumbai to investigate the incident in March was rejected by the anti-terrorism court as members of the panel were not allowed to cross-examine the Indian witnesses.

The seven suspects have been charged with planning, financing and facilitating the attacks.
Their trial has been stalled for over a year to due to a variety of technical reasons.