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Key Pakistani witness quizzed in Mumbai attacks trial

November 20, 2013 22:43 IST

Karachi-based port worker, who had seen 10 lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists leaving in a boat hours before the brazen Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, was cross-examined in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Wednesday.

The hearing, held at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for security reasons, went on for over five hours during which defence lawyers cross-examined Mohammad Saifullah Khan.

"One witness was cross-examined by the defence. He was one of two witnesses who had seen the men leave the (Karachi) port in a boat," Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhury Mohammed Azhar told PTI.

The cross-examination will continue tomorrow," he said. The Islamabad-based anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of seven suspects, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks in India's financial hub that killed 166 people.

The 10 LeT members who carried out the attacks sailed to Mumbai from Karachi after training in waters off the Pakistani port city. Azhar said the prosecution objected to some questions asked by the defence lawyers as they were illegal. The defence sought to question the witness about Amjad Khan, another port worker who is absconding, he said.

Amjad Khan had obtained a "port clearance certificate" for Al-Hussaini, one of the fishing boats used by the terrorists.

Defence lawyer Riaz Akram Cheema claimed, "The witness was cross-examined and he could not answer many of our questions." Judge Atiqur Rehman adjourned the hearing till Thursday, when another witness will also be examined. The statements of  the witnesses were recorded earlier.

India recently handed over documents running into nearly 600 pages for use in the trial here so that prosecutors can proceed against the seven accused.

The documents include a certified copy of the Indian Supreme Court's judgement in the Mumbai case, summons to witnesses, and depositions by two doctors who conducted the autopsy of nine terrorists and the chief investigating officer who probed the case.


Two other documents relate to proceedings of the Pakistani judicial commission that visited Mumbai last month and an application for producing articles recovered from the terrorists by the Pakistani senior public prosecutor, official sources said. 

Snehesh Alex Philip and M Zulqernain in Islamabad
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