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26/11 case: Will Pak judicial panel's visit to India be of any use?

December 20, 2011 17:43 IST

Even as five of the six defence counsels appearing on behalf of the accused in the 26/11 case in Pakistan prepare to arrive in India for a judicial probe, Indian agencies doubt if the visit would serve the real purpose of bringing the guilty to book.

There are doubts being raised even in Pakistan over the purpose of embarking on such a trip to India. Among those who are up in the arms is defence counsel Malik Rafique who refused to travel with his five colleagues stating that he doubted the credibility of the prosecution in India as he felt that the entire trial was one sided.

He also stated that it would be futile to be part of the probe in such conditions.

However, Indian agencies feel that Pakistani authorities are already building up ground to reject most of the evidence that has been provided by India.

As per the laws in Pakistan they would be able to question an accused who is of Pakistan origin. Although Pakistan has said that Ajmal Kasab is their national, they would think twice before admitting it before a judicial system.

The question of interrogating Fahim Ansari or Sabahuddin would not arise at all, as both are of Indian origin. Moreover they have been acquitted by the courts and hence the Pakistan delegation would not have anything to do with them.

Ejaz Naqvi, advocate for Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin, told that there is no such provision either for them to question a person of Indian origin unless a specific request is made which could be objected to or rejected.

However, the bigger issue for Pakistan is the cases against Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who enjoy cult status in Pakistan.

Indian investigators point out that while the rest of the accused in the 26/11 case are small fries, Pakistani investigators would try and protect Saeed and Lakhvi to the hilt.

A large part of the terror infrastructure in Pakistan depends on these two men. With the Al Qaeda losing flavour with the Inter Services Intelligence, the agency backs on the two men very heavily.

India has sent in many dossiers to Pakistan regarding the various Lashkar operatives who are behind the 26/11 attack. There are various testimonies regarding the roles played by Saeed and Lakhvi. Moreover, there is also a mention of mystery man Sajid Mir in these dossiers.

However, it is believed that the Pakistani judicial commission's visit would not serve the real purpose. There is already a mindset in the Pakistani judicial system that the testimonies and the investigations in India are all one-sided.

This itself is an indication that the material that they would collect in India would not be put to much use, Indian agencies point out.

The judicial commission in India would take the material, which have been used in the Indian courts and also speak to the magistrate who has handled the case. All this information is already on public domain and has been provided to Pakistan over and over again. The bigger issue is whether they would make use of the material that they would collect from India.

Vicky Nanjappa