Pakistan blames India for 26/11 trial delay

Pak courts require validation of Ajmal Kasab`s statement, said Rehman Malik.

Islamabad: The trial of seven Pakistani
suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks
has been held up because of New Delhi`s delay in granting
permission for a commission to visit India to interview key
witnesses, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Sunday.

The commission needs to visit India to validate lone
surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab`s statement as it forms a key
part of the case, Malik said while interacting with
journalists at the headquarters of the Federal Investigation

"The delay is not from Pakistan`s side. We have
proposed to India that a Pakistani commission can visit New
Delhi to validate Ajmal Kasab`s statement, but India has not
given any response so far."

“The delay is on the Indian side," he said.

"We are waiting for a reply (from India) to our
questions and our request (to send a commission to India)," he

The commission, which includes a defence lawyer, a
prosecution lawyer and an FIA officer, has already been set up
and will visit India when permission is granted by New Delhi,
Malik said.
"We made the statement of Ajmal Kasab as the base (of
our case) but our courts require validation of his statement
and we have written about this to India," he said.

Responding to a question regarding Pakistan`s probe
into the attacks on Indian`s financial hub two years ago,
Malik acknowledged that his Indian counterpart P Chidambaram
had, in a press statement issued yesterday, expressed
dissatisfaction at the trial of the accused in Pakistan.

Malik reiterated Pakistan`s commitment to help India
tackle terrorism.

"This is a very direct message to my friends in India
- we are there for you, we are ready to assist you and help
you," he said.

The FIA arrested seven suspects, including
Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, on
charges of facilitating and planning the attacks that killed
166 people.

However, their trial has been marred by controversy
and procedural delays and only one out of over 160 witnesses
has testified so far.

Pakistan cracked down on the Jamaat-ud-Dawah in the
wake of the Mumbai attacks when the UN Security Council
declared the group a front for the banned LeT.

JuD offices across Pakistan were sealed and several of
the group`s leaders, including its chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed,
were placed under house arrest.