Despite its commitment, Pakistan has failed to convey to India as to when its judicial commission will visit here to take the statement of the magistrate, who had recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab, to pursue the 26/11 attacks case.
During the Home Secretary-level talks held in New Delhi in March, India had agreed to host Pakistan’s judicial commission to take statements of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R.V. Sawant Waghule, Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale and the doctor who carried out the post-mortem of the terrorists.
Islamabad has been maintaining that it is necessary to send the commission to India as part of the judicial process of the 26/11 case in Pakistan and promised at the Home Secretary-level talks that they would do so by May 15.
“More than a month after the agreed date, Pakistan has not been able to convey to us when they are sending the commission to India,” an official said.
The government has already conveyed to the Bombay High Court that Mr. Sawant and Mr. Waghule should be available for questioning by the Pakistani commission.
The commission wants to interview the Indian officials in connection with the trial of seven Pakistani suspects, currently in a jail in that country, in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case.
Pakistan’s contention is that the charges against the seven Lashkar-e-Taiba members, including its operation commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, are based on Kasab’s statement in Mumbai and hence the magistrate and the IO’s statements were necessary to submit before the anti-terror court there.
Interestingly, the trial of Lakhvi and other Pakistanis charged with involvement in Mumbai attacks was adjourned on Saturday for a fortnight as no new judge was appointed for the Pakistan anti-terrorism court hearing the case following the transfer of Justice Rana Nisar Ahmed.
This was for the fourth time the judge of the court was changed. Justice Ahmed, who had been hearing the case since he was appointed judge of Rawalpindi’s anti-terrorist Court no. III in November 2010, was transferred shortly after the last hearing on June 11.
The development came just a day after Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who was in Islamabad on Friday for talks with her counterpart Salman Bashir, said she had highlighted India’s concerns about a “satisfactory closure” of the Mumbai attacks trial in Pakistan to enable the two countries “to move on with the process of normalisation.”
Ms. Rao said the issue of the Mumbai attacks was of “critical importance” to India and she had talked “about matters relating to the 26/11 trial and the pending issues relating to it” during her discussions with Mr. Bashir.
India has already provided to Pakistan copies of Kasab’s statement that was recorded in Hindi and Marathi in the presence of mr. Waghule. An English version is also available with Pakistan. Hindu