NEW DEHLI: A seven-member Pakistani judicial commission arrived in India via Attari on Saturday to take forward the prosecution of seven suspects, including Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and cross-examine and re-examine four prosecution witnesses in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case.
As many as 166 persons,including foreign nationals,were killed in the 2008 terror attack. The commission will reach Mumbai for the first leg of its investigation on Monday.
The Pakistani delegation is headed by special public prosecutor Azhar Chaudhry. He said in Chandigarh that the commission had come to collect evidence against the coaccused of Ajmal Kasab, the sole Pakistani terrorist caught alive during the attacks and executed last November.
The other seven Pakistani accused include Le-T commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who was charged with planning, financing and executing the brutal attack.
The evidence will be recorded on September 24-25. The panel’s second visit to India has been delayed thrice this month. The commission was scheduled to arrive on September 11, but its visit was postponed due to the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival during which courts remain closed in Mumbai.
India initially asked the commission to visit in early September, but it could not due to cancellation of a Pakistan International Airlines flight. The next date fixed was September 7, but the visit was again cancelled due to the non-availability of a flight.
The panel’s first report after a visit in March 2012 was rejected by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on the grounds that its members were not allowed to crossexamine the witnesses.
The commission has been given 7-day visas by the Indian High Commission valid for Delhi, Mumbai, Amritsar and Agra.
Additional CP (crime) in Mumbai Niket Kaushik confirmed the commission’s arrival on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2013.