26/11: ‘Pink foam’ presented before Pak court
Islamabad: Pakistani investigators on Saturday provided details of 350 articles, including the crucial "pink foam", found in four training camps of the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Sindh province to an anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven men charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks.
The articles were found by sleuths of the Federal Investigation Agency in LeT camps in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, and other locations in the southern province.
Two FIA officials Deputy Director Faqir Muhammad and Inspector Khalid Jamil testified in court during a hearing held behind closed doors at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, officials said.
Special Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulifqar Ali said that the FIA officials recorded their statements and provided details of the 350 articles found in the LeT training camps, including life jackets and a pink foam.
"It took about six hours for the court to record the details of the articles submitted by the witnesses," Ali said.
The FIA officials had recovered the articles from four LeT training camps in Karachi, Mirpurkhas and two other places in Sindh, he said.
"These two FIA officials are the most important witnesses in the case," Ali said.
As main defence lawyer Khwaja Haris Ahmed was not present in court today, cross-examination of the two prosecution witnesses could not be carried out.
At the request of the other defence lawyers, Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman adjourned the proceedings till December 22, when the witnesses will be cross-examined.
The pink foam has emerged as crucial piece of evidence in investigations of the Mumbai attacks on both sides of the border.
Indian investigators found samples of the pink foam at three sites where attackers planted bombs in Mumbai in November 2008.
Samples of the pink foam were also found in the boat MV
Kuber that was used by the attackers to travel to Mumbai, in a bag found at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and in a rucksack used by Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving attacker who was hanged in an Indian jail last month.
In Pakistan, sleuths found the pink foam at the LeT training camps in Sindh.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation had last year sought samples of the pink foam from India to compare it to the material that was found by Pakistani investigators.
In September 2009, Interior Minister Rehman Malik too had said that Pakistan wanted forensic data on the pink foam found it India so that it could be compared to the material found in Pakistan.
In an April 2009 diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Islamabad that was made public by Wikileaks last year, former Charge D'Affaires Gerald Feierstein had written that the pink foam was "possibly the most important piece of evidence shared with the FBI" and that an analysis of the material found by investigators in Mumbai could "help prove the conspiracy case in Pakistan".
The seven Pakistani suspects, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 that killed 166 people.
Their trial has been progressing at a snail’s pace and only a handful of over 160 prosecution witnesses have testified so far.
During a hearing on September 29, prosecution witnesses had testified about the training of the 10 terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks at LeT camps in Karachi, Battal in Mansehra district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.