The judge of the anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks was changed for the seventh time on Wednesday, with the current incumbent transferred to another court.
Judge Attiquer Rehman of Anti-Terrorism Court, Rawalpindi, who had been conducting the trial of Mumbai terror accused for a year, was transferred "without any reason".
Kausar Abbas Zaidi, Shahid Rafique, Malik Muhammad Akram Awan and Pervez Ali Shah were among the judges who remained associated with the Mumbai trial for a 'short stint.'
"No proceedings were held on Wednesday after the Lahore High Court issued a notification of the transfer of Judge Attiquer Rehman. The court office adjourned the hearing till October 22," sources said.
They said the LHC had not notified new judge for Mumbai trial case. "No specific reason has been given for the transfer of Rehman," the sources said.
Earlier, Rehman had refused to hear the case at Adiala Jail Rawalpindi on "security reasons". Similarly, the prosecution lawyers had drawn the court's attention to ensure their and witnesses security in the face of threats they received allegedly from the Jamaat-ud-Dawah activists.
Judge Rehman was on leave on last hearing on October 1. On September 24, the court had reserved verdict on the application of the prosecution lawyers that the trial should be held through a video-link or allow the witnesses to submit their recorded statements in the court (because of security reasons).
Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Anjum have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks in India's financial capital that killed 166 people in November, 2008.
The case against the accused began in early 2009.