The Pakistan commission investigating the 2008 Mumbai attacks could delay its visit to India, after the legal team defending Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the attacks, filed three separate petitions seeking more documents from the government.
Khawaja Haris, head of the defence team, filed three petitions in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi on Saturday. He also formally declared that he would act as attorney for the accused, replacing his father Khawaja Sultan Ahmad who died earlier this month.
“We are still indecisive about our team’s upcoming visit to Mumbai to collect evidence,” said Haris. He added: “We will decide after February 4, the day when the court will take up his fresh petitions on the issue.”
Haris is yet to apply for an Indian visa, adding that it is difficult for the defence team to visit India without documents regarding the case, which are yet to be rectified by the government.
The nine member commission is due to visit India from February 1 to February 10. Officials from both India and Pakistan had agreed to share information regarding the Mumbai terror attacks during these ten days.
A senior prosecutor, however, claimed that the commission will keep to its scheduled timetable. “The defence team is using delay tactics, despite the court’s order pertaining to the commission’s early visit to India,” said Azhar Chaudhry.
During their visit to India, the investigators will again ask the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Mumbai if they can meet the lone survivor of the attacks, Ajmal Kasab.
The investigators will record the statements of police officers who investigated the case, officials said. The team will also meet the magistrate who recorded Kasab’s confession and the chief investigating officer of the attacks. It will then present its evidence to the court hearing the case in Rawalpindi.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2012.
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