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Pakistan seeks custody of Kasab

Pakistan has formally requested India to hand over Ajmal Amir Kasab to facilitate 'successful' prosecution of other accused arrested in connection with the Mumbai attacks.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2009 09:28 IST

Identifying Ajmal Amir Kasab as the 'prime suspect' in the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan has formally requested India to hand over the lone gunman captured alive during the Mumbai terror strikes to facilitate 'successful' prosecution of other accused arrested in this country.

"The government of Pakistan has formally requested the Indian government to hand over the custody of Ajmal Kasab because he is the prime suspect and the rest of these suspects, they are abettors, they abetted the crime," deputy attorney general Sardar Mohammad Ghazi said.

Ghazi, who has been appointed the special public prosecutor for the trial of Pakistani suspects linked to the Mumbai terror attacks, said it would be difficult to prosecute the other accused if Kasab is not handed over to Pakistan.

"I am sure the Indian government is going to look into it, they are going to take a decision because without having the custody of Ajmal Kasab in Pakistan, I think it will be very, very difficult to prosecute the rest of the suspects," he said.

Ghazi said he hoped to work in cooperation with Indian authorities to prosecute the people arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of links to the November 26 Mumbai attacks. "I am sure better sense (will prevail) and we get the custody of Ajmal Kasab and we are able to conduct the trial successfully," he said.

India has ruled out the possibility of handing over Kasab to Pakistan. After weeks of denial, Pakistan last month acknowledged Kasab as its national.

Pakistani authorities have taken into custody six suspects, including Lashker-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and its communication expert Zarar Shah, though their exact legal status and whereabouts are surrounded by confusion.

An anti-terror judge remanded one of the suspects — LeT activist Hamad Amin Sadiq — to the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency for 15 days recently.

Asked about his mandate, Ghazi said he would "be expected to conduct the trial of the Mumbai suspects and bring them to justice after...exchanging evidence (with) India and after talking to the Indian counterparts".

"Let me see what the evidence is like, we'll be expecting cooperation from the Indian side also," he said.

"It is not a case which has taken place here in Pakistan. There are chains of events in India," he said, adding that Pakistan had been informed by the Indian government that there "are lots of suspects in India also".

"We will try to see what evidence India provides to us because the evidence on both sides is very important...on the basis of the joint evidence, we are going to bring the suspects to justice."