RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench has directed Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar to approach the trial court for declaring Ajmal Kasab and Fahim Arshad Ansari proclaimed offenders in the Mumbai attacks case.
A division bench, comprising Justice Rauf Ahmed Sheikh and Justice Ijaz Ahmed, directed Zulfiqar to withdraw the writ petition. They observed that this court could not declare Kasab and Ansari proclaimed offenders as, under criminal procedure laws, they were not wilfully absconding.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had filed a petition in April 2010 with the bench, challenging the trial court’s refusal to declare Kasab and Ansari as proclaimed offenders in the case registered in Pakistan.
During the course of hearing, public prosecutors Chaudhry Zulfiqar and Chaudhry Azhar requested the court that trial proceedings against seven men, arrested for allegedly planning the Mumbai attacks, have been pending for one year as the trial court had not declared Kasab and Ansari proclaimed offenders. He requested the court to set aside the March 27, 2010, decision of an anti-terrorism court and declare the two men, currently facing trial in India, as proclaimed offenders in the case registered with the FIA.
The petition names as respondents all seven arrested accused Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal and Abdul Majid.
“The prosecution had mentioned Kasab and Ansari as co-accused in the case and the trial court can proceed against the accused only after completing the process under sections 87 and 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” Zulfiqar maintained.
Meanwhile, defence counsel Khawaja Sultan, informed the court that Kasab is in Indian custody and not avoiding the court wilfully. He said that an Indian court has awarded him the death sentence, which makes it difficult to repatriate him to Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2011.
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