The 26/11 Mumbai attacks trial in Pakistan may conclude in two months, the chief prosecutor said on Tuesday, indicating the protracted court proceedings are finally winding down following a slew of diplomatic protests over the years by India on the halting pace.
Chaudhry Azhar made the remarks in an interview with Hindustan Times.
“The evidence of 50 witnesses has been recorded and we are now almost at the end of the trial,” he said.
The lawyer said he was hopeful the court would convict all seven accused on trial and criticised a court decision to release on bail alleged mastermind of the attacks Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi that soured India-Pakistan ties, as he said the move reeked of “foul play”.
Azhar, who has been accorded special protection after he received death threats, said the government had provided two more prosecutors to speed up the trial for which hearings are being held at the jail every Wednesday.
Pakistani investigators had earlier said they had “substantial evidence” directly connecting Zakhvi’s Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group to the Mumbai attacks.
The findings provided the basis for the trial of five LeT operatives.
This is the first time Pakistanis are being tried inside the country for carrying out terrorist attacks on foreign soil.
But politics has overtaken the trial since it began and the decision to give Lakhvi bail is seen as a part of the government’s efforts to delay the process.
The government, though, accuses the army of putting pressure on the judiciary to not proceed with the case as eight judges have been changed in this trial so far.
The development comes against the backdrop of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf acknowledging last month that his country supported and trained terror groups like the LeT in the 1990s for fanning militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.