An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC-I) trying suspects in the Mumbai attacks case put off the hearing till August 4 on Saturday after the prosecution witness could not get his statement recorded.
Special Judge ATC-I Chaudhry Habibur Rehman deferred the hearing after lawyers representing the arrested suspects argued the statement of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) sub-inspector Muhammad Shafique should not be recorded after the report prepared by the judicial commission sent to India was rejected in the last hearing.
The FIA official had prepared a transcript of the compact disc (CD) provided by Indian authorities containing a recording of the conversation between the alleged attackers in the 2008 Mumbai carnage and their orchestrators in Pakistan.
Shafique was to record his statement after which the defence lawyers were to cross-examine him.
The court had earlier said that since the judicial commission was not allowed to cross-examine Indian witnesses and doctors, the evidence provided by India against Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects hold no legal value in Pakistani courts.
According to Indian investigators, Lashkar-e-Taiba financed the procurement of work permits by Mumbai terror attacks suspect Abu Jundal for the ‘recruited’ Indian youths in Saudi Arabia.
“Jundal’s main job was to recruit Indians in Saudi Arabia and he got work permits for them as soon as they were indoctrinated,” said a police officer privy to the ongoing interrogation of Jundal by Mumbai crime branch on Saturday.
The work-permits helped the youths to avoid coming under the scanner of Saudi authorities, the officer said.
LeT had, in fact, funded Jundal’s entire one-year stay in Saudi Arabia, said the officer, adding he had travelled there on a tourist visa.
“Jundal told us that he was paid in Saudi Arabia, and he never did any job for earning his livelihood,” he said.
Jundal was arrested in the Mumbai terror attacks case on July 21 this year, after he was brought here from Delhi.
Apart from Mumbai attacks, Jundal is also wanted in other cases in Maharashtra: Aurangabad Arms haul case, 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune and the conspiracy to attack Nashik Police Academy.
(With additional input from PTI
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2012.