ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday formally asked Indian authorities to help present Indian witnesses in the Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court, prosecuting the Mumbai attacks accused.
The request was made in a telephonic conversation between Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram, in which they discussed certain aspects of the ongoing trial in Pakistan.
They also discussed the alleged involvement of Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley and the formation of a commission, comprising “relevant officials”, which would visit India to record the statements of a magistrate and a police officer.
Malik told Chidambaram that the court had yet to decide about the Indian offer to allow witnesses to testify through video-conferencing and proposed that, subject to the court’s approval, Pakistani officials may visit India to record statements of witnesses. Chidambaram said that they would consider the proposal.
Meanwhile, Khawaja Sultan Ahmad, counsel for the main accused in 26/11 case, told The Express Tribune that Pakistan’s demand of producing two witnesses was futile now. “According to Article 43 of the law of evidence, a confessional statement of an accused can be used against a co-accused when they are being tried jointly,” he said. However, the Pakistani government’s prosecutors
will approach the court on Monday with a petition to form the commission, he said. Ahmad said that the next hearing is scheduled for September 18.
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Sharat Sabharwal called on Malik on Saturday to inform him about the Indian government’s queries regarding the dossier Pakistan sent two months ago.
“The reply has been handed over to Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi Shahid Malik,” Sabharwal said. India’s response can be expected within days.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2010.
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