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Rediff.com  » News » 26/11: Pak panel to leave for Mumbai on Sept 21

26/11: Pak panel to leave for Mumbai on Sept 21

September 17, 2013 18:48 IST

An eight-member Pakistani judicial commission will leave for India on September 21 to cross-examine the Mumbai terror attack witnesses and to carry forward the much-delayed trial in Islamabad.

The commission was earlier scheduled to leave for India on September 11 but the visit was postponed due to the 10-day Ganesh festival.

"Yes, we are leaving on September 21 and we will be going via the Wagah border," Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhury Mohammed Azhar told PTI. Asked if there is any chance of a change in plan, he said, "This is what we have been told and we are preparing for that."

The visit has been delayed thrice this month. While India had given a date for early September, the team could not leave due to cancellation of PIA flight. The next date fixed was September 7, which was again cancelled due to non-availability of flight. Finally, a new date was fixed for September 11 but India said due to Ganesh Chaturthi festival, courts will be closed in Mumbai.

The visit to India to cross-examine witnesses is being undertaken to take forward the prosecution of the seven suspects, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. The witnesses are the magistrate who recorded Lashkar-e-Tayiba member Ajmal Kasab's confessional statement, the chief investigating officer and two doctors who conducted the autopsy of will be 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. The Mumbai case trial in Pakistan was also a subject of discussion during the recent talks held between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz.

 

Snehesh Alex Philip in Islamabad