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26/11 attacks trial in Pakistan postponed again

Last updated on: October 24, 2013 14:41 IST

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the Mumbai attacks trial on Thursday issued summons to four witnesses including the seller of a boat that was used by 10 Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists to reach India, even as it postponed the hearing of the case by two weeks.

Records of the cross-examination of Indian witnesses by a Pakistani judicial commission in connection with the attacks case had not reached the court in Islamabad when it convened this morning.

"The court records were important but have not reached us till now. We are expecting it to be received by the afternoon and hence the hearing has been postponed till November 6," Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhury Mohammed Azhar told PTI.

On October 3, the court conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with involvement in the 2008 attacks had postponed proceedings till today because of the lack of the Indian court records.

The Pakistanis are facing trial after being charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks that killed 166 people.

Indian diplomatic sources had said the records were sent to the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi last week itself.

Azar added, "Summons were also issued to four witnesses from Karachi. They include the sellers of the boats and life jackets that were used in the attack and a vendor at the fish harbour who had seen the men".

Defence lawyer Riaz Akram Cheema said he had told Judge Attiqur Rehman of the anti-terrorism court in Islamabad that the Court records should have been handed over in India itself.

"I told the judge that the records should have been handed over to Court Custodian Hamid Khan in India itself. How can we rule out tampering now," he told PTI.

The Indian court records of the Pakistani judicial commission that had visited India last month for cross examination of witnesses would be part of the prosecution report.

The commission had cross-examined witnesses in Mumbai including the magistrate who recorded Kasab's confessional statement, the chief investigating officer and two doctors who conducted the autopsy of the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.

This was the commission's second visit to India. A report submitted by the panel after its first visit in March 2012 was rejected by an anti-terrorism court as the commission's members were not allowed to cross-examine witnesses.

Snehesh Alex Philip and M Zulqernain in Islamabad/Lahore
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