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26/11 trial: Pak court reserves decision on Lakhvi plea

Last updated on: July 14, 2012 17:04 IST
A Pakistani court conducting the Mumbai attacks trial on Saturday reserved to July 17 its decision on Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi's application challenging the report of a judicial panel that probed the 2008 strikes, besides rejecting the bail plea of one of the seven suspects.

Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman, the judge of the Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court no. 1, reserved his judgment after hearing the arguments of defence and prosecution lawyers during the proceedings held behind closed doors at Adiala Jail.

The judge will announce his decision on July 17, sources told PTI.

Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 attacks, had claimed in his application that the report of the Pakistani judicial commission should not be made part of the case as it has "no legal value".

Lakhvi's counsel Khwaja Haris Ahmed objected to the agreement between India and Pakistan on the judicial commission's visit to Mumbai as it did not allow the cross-examination of witnesses.

"The commission was not allowed to cross-examine witnesses, making the whole exercise useless. The report has no legal value and therefore it should be ignored and not made part of the case," Ahmed said.

Chief prosecutor Chaudhry Zulifqar Ali argued that the court could send the commission to India again after ensuring that it would be allowed to cross-examine witnesses.

Ahmed opposed this proposal and said, "We should not waste our time first in correspondence, and then considering (the idea of sending) the commission to India again. We should move forward."

The eight-member commission, which included prosecutors and defence lawyers, visited Mumbai earlier this year and interviewed a judge, a senior police officer and two doctors who conducted the autopsies of the terrorists involved in the attacks and their victims.

In a related development, the judge rejected the bail application of Jamil Ahmed, one of the seven accused.

Ahmed's counsel Ilyas Siddique had argued that he was innocent as nothing had been established against him despite the passage of about three years since his arrest. Siddique claimed the charges against his client were "fabricated" and he should be granted bail.

Chief prosecutor Ali argued that the accused had provided financial assistance to another accused involved in the attacks. A mobile phone SIM used by the other accused was issued in Jamil Ahmed's name, Ali said.

The prosecution had enough evidence against Jamil Ahmed, Ali said.

After hearing the arguments, the judge rejected the bail plea and disposed of the matter. The seven suspects, including Lakhvi, have been charged with planning, financing and executing the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people in November 2008.


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