Pakistan team in India for 26/11 attacks probe | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan team in India for 26/11 attacks probe

delhi Updated: Mar 14, 2012 21:47 IST

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Pakistani investigators and lawyers arrived in India on Wednesday to obtain evidence for prosecuting seven Pakistani suspects linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people died.

The visit is the first of its kind, and comes after Pakistan indicted seven alleged conspirators in 2009.

Islamabad has since said it needs to gather more evidence in India before proceeding further against the seven.

"The members of the Pakistani judicial commission are in New Delhi. They will leave for Mumbai on Thursday," home ministry spokeswoman Ira Joshi told AFP.

The nine-member commission of prosecutors, defence lawyers and a court official will take statements from witnesses and cross-examine them.

"Their mandate is to record statements of those who investigated the 2008 case," said Joshi.

Four members from the Pakistan High Commission (embassy) in New Delhi will join the visiting Pakistani group for the Mumbai leg of their trip.

The team will also meet Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case.

Pakistani prosecutor Azhar Chaudhry, a member of the panel, told news agency Press Trust of India that the commission has no powers to conduct a formal investigation.

"We are going there to collect evidence from the witnesses," he said. "There is no inquiry -- it is the collection of evidence on behalf of the trial court in Pakistan."

New Delhi says Pakistan's attempts at prosecution have been a "facade" and insists it has already handed over enough evidence to convict the accused.

Pakistan had wanted Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, who is the sole surviving gunman from the attacks and has been sentenced to death in India, to testify, but he has not been included among the interviewees requested by the panel.

The Pakistani commission will record the statements of Indian investigators, doctors who performed autopsies and the magistrate who took Kasab's confession in Mumbai.

India blames Pakistani militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group for training, equipping and financing the attack with support from "elements" in the Pakistani military.