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Pakistan turns down India's request to quiz 26/11 suspects: Report

By Rezaul H Laskar
March 13, 2011 15:31 IST
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Pakistani authorities have declined India's request to send an inquiry commission to interrogate Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects charged with involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, a media report said on Sunday.

"There is no law under which we could allow Indian investigators to grill the seven accused, who are already in judicial custody," a senior unnamed interior ministry official was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

India had sent an official letter expressing its willingness to allow a Pakistani commission to visit India to interview key officials linked with the probe into the 2008 Mumbai terror strike that killed 166 people. In the same letter, it had asked Pakistan to allow its team to visit Islamabad to interrogate the seven accused.

Home Minister P Chidambaram told the media on March 2 that India had sent Pakistan "a request asking them if they would agree to a team from India to question the people who are suspects."

Wajid Zia, chief of the Federal Investigation Agency's joint investigation team that probed the Mumbai incident, sent a reply to the Interior Ministry's National Crisis Management Cell, which has forwarded it to the foreign ministry for delivery to Indian authorities.

Zia's letter states that Pakistan's request for sending a commission to India to interrogate officials, including the magistrate who recorded lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab's statement, is based on sections 503, 505 and 507 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, sources told Dawn.

The letter also states that the seven Pakistani accused -- Lakhvi, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Mazhar Iqbal alias Abu Al-Qama, Abdul Wajid alias Zarar Shah, Mohammad Younas Anjum, Shahid Jameel Riaz and Jamil Ahmed -- have been remanded to judicial custody.

The letter also questioned the legal basis of India's request to interrogate these suspects, the sources said. The seven Pakistani suspects are currently being held in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

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