Pak lawyers to go to India for Mumbai 26/11 case

Last Updated: Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 18:19

Islamabad: The counsel of seven Pakistani
suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks on Saturday
informed an anti-terrorism court that five lawyers were
prepared to go to India as part of a judicial commission that
will quiz witnesses and officials.

The defence team submitted the names of the five lawyers
who were ready to join the commission during in-camera
proceedings conducted by *judge Shahid Rafique at Adiala Jail
in Rawalpindi.

The five lawyers include Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur
Rehman Lakhvi`s counsel Khwaja Sultan, Riaz Cheema, Asam bin
Haris and Fakhar-e-Hayat.

The defence team submitted the passports and other
documents of the five lawyers to the court.

Sultan filed an application asking the court to direct
the Federal Investigation Agency`s prosecutors to inform
defence lawyers about details of the planned visit to India,
particularly security arrangements.

The judge directed Khalid Qureshi, the head of the FIA`s
Special Investigation Group, to keep defence lawyers in the
loop about arrangements for the visit.

The judge then adjourned the case till January 3.
There were no arguments today on an application filed by
the prosecution at the last hearing on December 10 seeking
voice samples of the seven suspects.

In a separate development, Sultan said that he
feared India might not grant him a visa as authorities there
had reportedly declared him "persona non grata".

"After I represented some persons linked to hijacking
cases, the Indian government declared me persona non grata.

If India doesn`t issue me a visa, none of us (defence
lawyers) will go to India as part of the commission," Sultan
said.

At the last hearing, the defence lawyers made a
reversal from their earlier stand and informed the court that
they were willing to travel to India with the judicial
commission.

The Pakistani commission will work with Indian law
officers to question and record the statements of witnesses
and key officials, including the magistrate who recorded lone
surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab’s confession, the police
officer who led the investigation in Mumbai and doctors who
conducted the autopsies of the victims and attackers.

The prosecution has said it is important for the
commission to visit India so that the trial in Pakistan can be
taken forward.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 17, 2011 - 18:19

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