The interior ministry has informed the Indian government that the evidence provided in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case is not admissible in the Pakistani trial court since the lawyers representing the accused were not allowed to cross-examine Indian officials.
In a letter dispatched to the Indian government on Tuesday, the interior ministry, citing the verdict of the Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court, declared that the cross-examination of the key Indian officials in the case was needed to make the evidence admissible in Pakistan.
The evidence provided by Indians included the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab – the lone surviving gunman of the attacks that killed 166 people – a CD containing conversations between the November 26, 2008 attackers in Mumbai and their alleged handlers in Pakistan, post-mortem and medical reports of the deceased and injured and the statements of four Indian officials.
Sources privy to the investigations in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed The Express Tribune that the interior ministry had made it clear to India that the evidence would not have any legal footing in Pakistan if the Indian officials were not allowed to be cross-examined by the lawyers representing the seven arrested accused facing trial in Pakistan.
It was on July 17 when the trial judge – accepting the plea of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 attacks, and other accused – declared the proceedings of a judicial commission “null and void”.
The accused had challenged the legal status of the report of the judicial commission as their lawyers were not allowed to question the Indian officials who prepared the incriminating evidence against them.
Earlier in April this year, a judicial commission was sent to Mumbai and recorded the statements of Mumbai Chief Investigation Officer Ramash Mahale, Rama Vijay Sawanth, the magistrate who recorded the confessional statement of Kasab, Dr Shaliesh Mohiti and Dr Ganash Dhondiraj — who conducted the post-mortem of the victims.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.