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India assures Pak to allow questioning of 26/11 witnesses

June 18, 2013 17:11 IST

India has given a written assurance to Pakistan that a legal panel of that country will be allowed to cross examine four witnesses in the 26/11 attacks case when it visits Mumbai for the second time.

Following a request from Pakistan, the home ministry has obtained a written consent from the Bombay high court that the Pakistani judicial commission will be allowed to cross examine the witnesses to take the Mumbai attack case in Pakistan to its logical conclusion.

"We have sent the high court's communication and the statements of the four witnesses to Pakistan for submission before a Rawalipindi court," a top Home Ministry officer said.

Seven terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Tayiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, were charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai in November 2008 and their trial was going on in a Rawalpindi court.

India has sought an early conclusion of the trial, which, it feels, is going at a very slow pace in Pakistan.

The witnesses are metropolitan magistrate Rama Vijay Sawant-Waghule, who recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, chief investigating officer Ramesh Mahale and two doctors from the state-run Nair and J J Hospitals who had conducted autopsies of nine terrorists.

The findings of the first Pakistani judicial commission that visited India in March 2012 were rejected by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan as the panel's members were not allowed to cross-examine the Indian witnesses.

"We are now awaiting Islamabad's communication as to when the Pakistani judicial commission will visit India," the officer said.

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