Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the attacks on Mumbai by Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists, the new lawyer of the seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the incident on Monday claimed the evidence provided by India was a "sham".
"The dossiers provided by India are information and not evidence as needed by the court. The evidence provided by India is a sham," Raja Rizwan Abbasi, counsel for Lashkar commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other accused, told a news conference in Islamabad.
Responding to the Pakistani prosecution team's contention that it is satisfied with the evidence and fully confident of securing a conviction, Abbasi said, "That is what the prosecution says and this is what we feel. Only the court will decide."
During the interaction with media at a three-star hotel, Abbasi fell just short of claiming the Mumbai attacks were an Indian operation, as propagated by conspiracy theorists and extremist groups.
The news conference, organised by a public relations firm, had all the trapping of a corporate event, including innovatively placed banners.
Zahid Hussain Tirmizi and Abbasi were named the new lawyers of the accused after Khwaja Haris Ahmed and Riaz Akram Cheema said they would no longer represent the suspects for "personal reasons".
Abbasi claimed India was delaying the slow-paced trial that began in early 2009. He said India should give Pakistan access to witnesses, evidence and sites for an impartial, unbiased probe.
He also sought to punch holes in Ajmal Kasab's trial in India. He claimed Kasab had retracted his confession and claimed he was arrested 20 days before the attacks were launched on November 26, 2008.
When Abbasi was told there were CCTV images and photos showing Kasab shooting people in Mumbai, he responded: "No such evidence has been given to court. The photographer who took the pictures should be presented."
Kasab was one of the 10 LeT members who sailed to Mumbai to carry out the attacks after training in terror camps in Karachi, Muridke and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. His conviction by an anti-terrorism court was upheld by India's Supreme Court and he was hanged in a Pune jail a year ago.
Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum were arrested in 2009 over the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. They have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled for November 27.
Pakistan has acknowledged that the conspiracy behind the attacks was hatched on its soil but the trial of the suspects has progressed at a snail's pace for various reasons.