A Pakistani court has dismissed a petition from the government’s main investigation agency seeking voice samples of seven suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks because prosecutors did not pursue the matter.
A division bench of the Islamabad High Court dismissed the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) petition during a hearing on Tuesday because of “non-prosecution”. The move is being perceived as a setback to the Mumbai attacks trial in Pakistan.
The court also dismissed another petition from the FIA to declare Ajmal Kasab and Faheem Ansari as “proclaimed offenders” or fugitives in the Mumbai attacks case so that the investigation against both men could be closed.
The prosecution was asking for voice samples of the suspects, including Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, to compare them with communications intercepted by Indian intelligence and to present them as evidence in the anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of the seven suspects.
This was the second time the high court dismissed the FIA’s petition since 2012 because the prosecution did not appear before the judge to argue the case.
In 2011, the FIA approached the high court to obtain voice samples of Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum.
In September 2012, the court dismissed the petition for “non-prosecution” — in other words, the FIA had not pursued the matter. After the dismissal, the FIA woke up again and its counsel filed a fresh petition seeking the voice samples.
According to the petition, Indian intelligence agencies had said they intercepted communications between the suspects and the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008. In the intercepts, the suspects were allegedly instructing the terrorists.
The FIA’s petition said information received from Indian authorities showed “Ajmal Kasab alias Abu Mujaid along with his other accomplices was allegedly trained and launched by Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abu Hamza, Kahafa, and other associates” of the LeT.
Under Pakistan’s laws, voice samples cannot be obtained without the permission of suspects.
Kasab, the lone attacker to be captured alive, was executed in November 2012. Faheem Ansari was acquitted in the Mumbai attacks case by an Indian court in 2010 but he continues to be in custody in connection with other crimes.