A Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven Mumbai terror attack suspects on Saturday gave prosecutors time till June 11 to substantiate their contention that India would allow a Pakistani Judicial Commission to interview key witnesses and officials.
The special public prosecutor told Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed of the Rawalpindi-based court that the Indian government had said it will cooperate with the Pakistani Judicial Commission and allow it to question witnesses and officials.
The judge asked the prosecutors to substantiate their contention with any written communication sent by Indian authorities, sources told PTI.
The judge adjourned the case till June 11 though the prosecutors had sought more time to complete formalities related to the Judicial Commission, the sources said.
The prosecutors said the Judicial Commission intends to interview doctors who conducted the autopsies of the Mumbai attacks victims, police officials who investigated the incident and the magistrate who recorded the statement of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the November 2008 assault on India's financial hub.
The statements of these persons will be recorded by the Judicial Commission and presented to the anti-terrorism court, the prosecutors said during proceedings held behind closed doors at Adiala Jail for security reasons. Defence lawyers opposed the move, saying the proposal to send a Pakistani Commission to India was linked to New Delhi's proposal to send its Commission to Islamabad to interview suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks.
They contended it was unlikely India would allow the Pakistani panel's visit if Islamabad did not clear the visit of the Indian Commission.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said last year that the trial of the seven Pakistani suspects, including Lashker-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, had stalled and it was important for the proposed commission to visit India and record the testimony of key officials.
The seven Pakistani suspects have been charged with planning, facilitating and financing the terror attacks that killed 166 people.
Kasab has already been convicted and sentenced to death by a special court in India for his role in the incident.