26/11: Pak hands over 13th dossier to India
Islamabad: Pakistan has handed over to India its latest dossier on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and a formal request regarding its proposal to send a commission to interview key witnesses in India in connection with the trial of seven Pakistani suspects linked to the incident.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner Rahul Kulshreshth was called late Friday evening to the Foreign Office, where Director General (South Asia) Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi handed over Pakistan's 13th dossier on the Mumbai incident and the formal proposal for sending the commission to India.
"During the meeting, (Kulshreshth) was handed over Pakistan's Dossier No 13 pertaining to the Mumbai terror attacks case and the detailed formal information on Pakistan's proposal to send a Commission to India," said a brief statement issued by the Foreign Office today.
"The government of India was requested to facilitate the visit of the proposed Commission," the statement said. Further, information was sought by the Pakistani side from the Indian government to "facilitate the ongoing Mumbai trial in Pakistan", it added.
Diplomatic sources said the dossier contained requests for more information from Indian authorities regarding the Mumbai incident to facilitate the trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including Lashker-e-Toiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who have been charged with planning and facilitating the attacks.
The formal proposal for sending the commission to interview 24 key witnesses in India, including lone surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab and the magistrate who recorded Kasab's confessional statement, included details regarding the proposed commission's terms of reference, the sources said.
Legal experts said the Pakistan government's move appeared to be aimed at satisfying questions raised about the commission by the anti-terrorism court that is conducting the trial of the seven Pakistani suspects. During the last hearing of the case on October 16, the judge had pointedly asked the prosecution whether the Pakistan government had even obtained written permission from Indian authorities for the commission's proposed visit to India.
The prosecution was unable to satisfy the judge on this issue and sought four weeks' time to complete certain formalities.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled for November 13, when the proposed commission's visit to India will be taken up again by the judge.
The trial of the Pakistani suspects has been mired by controversies and delays. Only one out of over 160 witnesses has testified so far and the judge has been changed twice.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik recently claimed the trial was stalled and could not move forward unless the prosecution gained access to key witnesses like Kasab.