While a superior court is to confirm the sentence, the death penalty handed to Ajmal Kasab by a court in Mumbai may provide some closure to families of the victims of 26/11, when at least 166 people were killed. His retracted confession and later denial notwithstanding, the evidence against him was incontrovertible — and perhaps it is best encapsulated in his camera capture as he walked with a gun in hand in Mumbai’s main train station. As we said earlier in this space a few days ago, instead of gloating over the conviction, India should try and assist Pakistan in helping prosecute the seven Lashkar-e-Taiba men that it detained in December 2008, and who are still awaiting trial. This is important because their conviction could help remove, to some extent, the doubts that New Delhi may have over Islamabad’s stance on this whole matter. After all, the case against the LeT men has been in court for some time and not much has come of it. In fact, the slow pace has perhaps emboldened one of the main accused, LeT operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, into once filing a petition for transfer of the case and once filing for acquittal of all charges on account of no evidence.
It is in this context that Pakistan has requested some days ago to India to either send Ajmal Kasab, possibly as a material witness, or to send officials familiar with the case to supplement whatever evidence Pakistani prosecutors may have against the LeT men. We should press New Delhi on this and if there is a positive response, then we should be prepared to use any testimony arising out of this to prosecute, to the fullest extent possible, Lakhvi and co. That will be the best proof of Pakistan’s good intentions on this issue.
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