While the trial of those accused of masterminding the 26/11 Mumbai attacks continues in fits and starts, the hanging of Ajmal Kasab may have a negative impact on the Rawalpindi trial, warn legal experts.
“In the absence of pressure from the Pakistani government, suspects may be let off the hook,” said a government official, requesting anonymity.
Refuting the rumours, interior minister Rehman Malik said that the government will not let anyone derail the process.
Currently, mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and six others are facing an in-camera trial being heard by the Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. They have been charged with training, execution, handling, abetment, conspiring, financing and commanding the Mumbai terror attacks.
While Lakhvi has been accused of planning the attacks, four others — LeT’s communications expert Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq and Shahid Jamil Riaz — have been termed as facilitators, managers of funds and helping in locating hideouts for the attackers in Rawalpindi.
Recent statements by five CID inspectors who testified against the perpetrators is a step in the right direction, say observers. “The evidence that has been collected is being presented in court,” said legal expert Muhammad Afridi.
This also implies that the Pakistan government has decided to move ahead with the trial after years of inactivity. “We need to see more progress, more testimonies,” said political analyst Talat Masood.
So far, Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has identified 20 others as suspects involved in the planning and execution of the attacks. The FIA says it has now gathered the photographs of all these suspects involved directly or indirectly in the Mumbai attacks. According to report, these terror suspects had provided logistical and monetary support to the 10 gunmen who attacked Mumbai. The statements suggest that the Pakistani government has investigated the charges made by their Indian counterparts, say officials.
Rehman Malik insisted that it is wrong to suggest that Pakistan is not interested in bringing the guilty to justice. He added that the process was complicated.