A Pakistani judicial commission, which will interview key persons linked to the probe into the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, will be allowed to visit India in the first week of February as the Bombay high court has given its consent for it.
The high court has informed the ministry of home affairs (MHA) that the in-principle approval for the visit of the Pakistani judicial commission has been given and the team may come in first week of February.
The MHA will soon convey the high court's approval for the visit to Pakistan through diplomatic channels, official sources said.
However, it is not clear immediately when the Pakistani delegation's visit will actually take place considering the domestic situation in that country.
The Pakistani commission will take the statements of additional chief metropolitan magistrate R V Sawant Waghule and investigating officer Ramesh Mahale, who have recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the 26/11 attacks, to pursue the case in Pakistan.
It also wanted to take the statements of the two doctors who carried out the post mortem of the terrorists killed during the attack.
Pakistan has already issued a gazette notification on the formation of the judicial commission and has listed the members who will represent Pakistan government.
The delegation will include Khalid Qureshi, the head of the Federal Investigation Agency's Special Investigation Group, and Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry and Chaudhry Zulifqar, the two main prosecutors.
The commission said it had been unable to identify the elements responsible for the murder despite having looked very hard for substantial evidence and tangible material, direct or circumstantial, which would allow it to single out the killers from various suspected quarters.
"Yet such evidence has not surfaced," it said.
It said the press too should be made more law-abiding and accountable through the strengthening of institutions mandated by law to deal with legitimate grievances against it.
The commission urged the media to maintain a balance between secrecy and accountability in the conduct of information-gathering which should be appropriately readjusted with the aim of restoring public confidence in all state institutions.
The panel recommended that Islamabad Police and Punjab Police should continue to investigate the murder diligently and impartially without any fear or favour by interrogating all those who should be questioned in the normal course.
The commission asked authorities to ensure the immediate disbursement of the Rs 3 million announced by the President as compensation for Shahzad’s widow and said his children should be provided free education at least till graduation.
Shahzad was abducted while driving from his house to a television station in Islamabad on May 29 last year, two days after he alleged in an article that al Qaeda had infiltrated the Pakistan Navy.
His body, bearing marks of severe torture, was found the next day in a canal near Mandi Bahauddin, a district of Punjab province. Rights groups and journalists' bodies had alleged that he was killed by the ISI, a charge denied by the spy agency.