A contempt of court petition against federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik was withdrawn on Saturday by accused persons in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The withdrawal came after the special public prosecutor (SPP) for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) stated that the minister had not committed contempt.
According to SPP FIA Chaudhry Azhar Ali, the minister in his July 28 statement had simply said there was a possibility of the formation of a judicial commission which would visit India over the next few days. Following the SPP’s remarks, advocate Khawaja Sultan Ahmed representing the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and other accused withdrew the contempt plea. Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court-III (ATC-III) Shahid Rafique disposed the petition after the FIA lawyer said Malik was misquoted by the Indian media and the minister “strongly believed in respecting judicial proceedings”.
While talking to media after the hearing, Ali said the application for the formation of a judicial commission which would visit India had been completed. The decision on the FIA’s application is expected on August 27.
In the application, the investigation agency has explained that the purpose of the proposed judicial commission’s visit is to record the statements of the judicial officer who noted down the statement of Mumbai attacks gunman Ajmal Kasab, the investigation officer of the case and the medical officers who conducted medical reports of the deceased and injured. The application is part of efforts to make the Kasab’s confessional statement in India a part of legal proceedings in Pakistan. The trial judge will record the statements of four FIA officials at the next hearing. The prosecution witnesses include Noman Ashraf Bodla, Sardar Azam, Jamshaid Ahmed and Muhammad Shafiq.
The petition had been filed when advocate Ahmed had said the interior minister had declared that a judicial commission had already been formed which would soon leave for India, although the application for the commission’s formation was still pending in court.
Bhutto’s assassination case
The court put off the hearing of the Benazir Bhutto murder case till August 20 after lawyers of two accused police officers said they needed certified copies of statements of Pakistan Peoples Party leaders who were with Benazir when she died.
Advocate Malik Waheed Anjum, representing former Rawalpindi City Police Officer Saud Aziz and Superintendent of Police Khurram Shahzad, said they needed statements of Amin Fahim, Naheed Khan, Safdar Abbasi and then Senior Superintendent of Police Operation Rawalpindi Yasin Farooq to prepare arguments.
The ATC-III judge directed the FIA to provide copies to the accused policemen and adjourned the hearing after investigators sought more time to collect details of former president Pervez Musharraf’s property.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.
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