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Pak judge hearing 26/11 case wants to quit proceedings

In a possible setback to the trial of seven suspects arrested by Pakistani police for their involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, the judge hearing the case has said he can no longer continue with the proceedings.

world Updated: Oct 21, 2009 18:41 IST

In a possible setback to the trial of seven suspects arrested by Pakistani police for their involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, the judge hearing the case has said he can no longer continue with the proceedings.

Citing "unavoidable reasons", Judge Baqir Ali Rana of the anti-terrorism court, who has been conducting the trial
within the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, has asked the Lahore High Court to be excused from hearing the case.

Rana sent a formal request to the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday, saying he could not continue with
the proceedings because of "unavoidable reasons".

The request is currently pending with the Chief Justice's office, officials said.

However, sources told PTI that Rana took the step as he felt he was under pressure from the government and other
quarters with regard to the trial of the seven suspects, including key Lashker-e-Taiba operatives Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi
and Zarar Shah.

The sources said Rana was also facing pressure from the lawyers of the seven suspects, who are unhappy about the
trial being conducted in-camera.

The judge felt his position had been made "vulnerable" because of the move to conduct the proceedings behind closed
doors. There are also reports that Rana has received threats from the LeT because the suspects were indicted in the absence of their lawyers during a hearing on October 10.

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