Pakistan court seeks clarity on appearance of Indian witnesses in Mumbai attacks case

The anti-terror court also asked the Pakistan government to specify the availability of 27 Indian witnesses so that the trial could be concluded expeditiously.

world Updated: May 16, 2018 18:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent, Islamabad
Pakistan,26/11,Nawaz Sharif
Fire and smoke at teh Taj Mahal Palace Hotel during the terror attacks.(HT File)

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court hearing the Mumbai attacks case on Wednesday summoned the last two Pakistani prosecution witnesses and asked the government to clarify on the availability of 27 Indian witnesses so that the trial could be expeditiously concluded.

The case, being heard since 2009, has assumed significance since ousted premier Nawaz Sharif questioned last week why the trial wasn’t being completed.

Pakistani authorities arrested seven people, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and put them on trial for planning, financing and helping execute the attacks that killed 166 people.

During a hearing held behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, judge Shahrukh Arjumand recorded the statement of Dera Ghazi Khan district police chief Sohail Habib Tajik.

The court directed Federal Investigation Agency official Wajid Zia and another official, Zahid Akhter, to present evidence during the next hearing on May 23. A total of 68 Pakistani prosecution witnesses have recorded their statements.

Referring to the issue of Indian witnesses, the judge expressed concern that there had been “no serious and final response” from the government even after the court had repeatedly directed officials since January 2016 “for producing 27 Indian nationals so as to give evidence”.

The court added, “Now the case is in the final stages and only statements of two Pakistani officials have to be recorded, therefore, notice be served upon the director general, FIA, secretary of interior and secretary for foreign affairs for submitting their final and concrete response in the court (about) the availability of 27 Indian nationals so as to conclude the trial expeditiously.”

Last year, the Pakistan government had contacted India to send the 27 witnesses to testify against the suspects.

Besides Lakhvi, the other suspects arrested in 2009 are Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younus Anjum. Last August, the FIA also arrested Sufyan Zafar, an alleged financier of the attacks.

The Lahore high court released Lakhvi on bail in 2015.

First Published: May 16, 2018 17:57 IST