Prosecutors file plea challenging defence`s stance on Kasab

Prosecutors filed an application in an anti-terrorism court challenging the contention of lawyers defending the seven Mumbai terror attack suspects that Ajmal Kasab and Fahim Ansari cannot be re-tried in Pakistan.

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2011, 21:16 PM IST

Islamabad: Prosecutors on Saturday filed an
application in an anti-terrorism court challenging the
contention of lawyers defending the seven Mumbai terror attack
suspects that Ajmal Kasab and Fahim Ansari cannot be re-tried
in Pakistan.

The prosecution team filed the application during
today`s hearing in the Mumbai attacks case conducted by
anti-terrorism court Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed in the heavily
guarded Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, sources said.
The prosecution`s application contended that the
defence lawyers could not present an argument regarding Kasab
and Ansari as they did not represent the two men, the sources
said.

The defence lawyers had recently filed an application
seeking the start of trial proceedings as soon as possible and
recording of evidence against the accused.
The application was filed under Section 403 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 13 of the Constitution,
which state that no person can be prosecuted or punished for
the same offence more than once.

The defence lawyers` application was apparently aimed
at stymieing the prosecution`s efforts to gain access to
Kasab, the lone surviving attacker involved in the Mumbai
attacks, and terror suspect Fahim Ansari.

Kasab has been convicted and sentenced to death by
an Indian court. The same court acquitted Ansari, but he
continues to be in custody in connection with other cases.

However, the prosecution could not present its
arguments during today`s hearing in the anti-terrorism court
as chief prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar did not appear before the
judge.

Judge Rana subsequently adjourned the case till April
23.

Shahbaz Rajput, one of the defence lawyers said that the prosecution`s new application was aimed at making the
case "linger on to the maximum extent".

He said it would lead to further delays in the trial.

The seven Pakistani suspects, including
Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, have been
charged with planning, facilitating and financing the Mumbai
attacks that killed 166 people.

The judge is conducting the proceedings behind closed
doors at Adiala Jail for security reasons. The trial has been
marred by repeated delays over technical matters.

The judge has been changed thrice and only one of more
than 160 prosecution witnesses has testified so far.

PTI