India might not get 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi’s voice sample despite Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif agreeing to cooperate on terror. One day after the agreement in Ufa, Lakhvi’s lawyer told HT his client will not be giving his voice sample and that it cannot be forced out of him.
“My client has refused in the past and will refuse again,” Rizwan Abbasi said over phone from Islamabad on Saturday.
“According to our law, the accused have to give their consent," he added.
A joint media statement released after an hour-long meeting between Modi and Sharif in Russia on Friday outlined that the two sides had decided to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.
India is of the firm view that it can nail Lakhvi with a voice sample.
A Pakistani anti-terror court granted bail to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist in December for “lack of evidence”, six years after his arrest.
But, graphic accounts of his exact role were detailed not only by 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab but also Pakistani-American conspirator David Coleman Headley and India-born Abu Jundal, who was present in a Karachi control room with Lakhvi as the two were part of a team that directed 10 terrorists through the three days Mumbai was under siege.
The court had rejected the prosecution’s plea for voice samples saying the country’s laws required the accused’s permission and had also thrown out a CD containing conversations between the handlers and the terrorists.
“The judge had asked how the CD established that the voices on the terror tapes indeed belonged to the terrorists and whether anyone had corroborated the voices,” said an officer privy to the in-camera proceedings.
Abbasi also told HT he would question any future move by the prosecution to seek voice samples.
“What is the legal worth of evidence that hasn’t been produced in seven years?” he argued. “This only strengthens our contention that evidence against Lakhvi is weak.”
The only way India may get Lakhvi’s voice sample is if Pakistan amends its laws and that option will be explored when the national security advisers of the two countries meet, officials said.
The Ufa joint statement had also said that both sides had agreed to “a meeting in New Delhi between the two NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism”.
“Getting Pakistan to change its law is a long shot considering it has taken no steps in seven years to act against the Jamaat-ud-Dawaah (the LeT’s political arm) despite it being banned by the United Nations soon after the Mumbai attacks,” an Indian official said.
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