India responsible for delay in trial of 26/11 suspects: Pak
The trial of seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks has been held up because of New Delhi's delay in granting permission for a commission to visit India to interview key witnesses, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.world Updated: Nov 27, 2010 20:34 IST
The trial of seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks has been held up because of New Delhi's delay in granting permission for a commission to visit India to interview key witnesses, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.
The commission needs to visit India to validate lone surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab's statement as it forms a key part of the case, Malik said while interacting with journalists at the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency.
"The delay is not from Pakistan's side. We have proposed to India that a Pakistani commission can visit New Delhi to validate Ajmal Kasab's statement, but India has not given any response so far. The delay is on the Indian side," he said. "We are waiting for a reply (from India) to our questions and our request (to send a commission to India)," he said.
The commission, which includes a defence lawyer, a prosecution lawyer and an FIA officer, has already been set up and will visit India when permission is granted by New Delhi, Malik said.
"We made the statement of Ajmal Kasab as the base (of our case) but our courts require validation of his statement and we have written about this to India," he said.
Responding to a question regarding Pakistan's probe into the attacks on Indian's financial hub two years ago, Malik acknowledged that his Indian counterpart P Chidambaram had, in a press statement issued yesterday, expressed dissatisfaction at the trial of the accused in Pakistan.
Malik reiterated Pakistan's commitment to help India tackle terrorism.
"This is a very direct message to my friends in India – we are there for you, we are ready to assist you and help you," he said.
The FIA arrested seven suspects, including Lashker-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, on charges of facilitating and planning the attacks that killed 166 people.
However, their trial has been marred by controversy and procedural delays and only one out of over 160 witnesses has testified so far.
Pakistan cracked down on the Jamaat-ud-Dawah in the wake of the Mumbai attacks when the UN Security Council declared the group a front for the banned LeT.
JuD offices across Pakistan were sealed and several of the group's leaders, including its chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, were placed under house arrest.