LeT operations commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and six others accused in the 2008 Mumbai attack case will be individually charged for the abetment to murder of each of the 166 people who died in the carnage, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court ruled today. “The seven suspects will be charged individually for the abetment to murder of each victim of Mumbai attack case,” a senior court official said, quoting the verdict of the trial court.
The official told PTI that the court, however, did not allow cross examination of the suspects in this regard. The prosecution had filed an application in the ATC Islamabad some two months ago requesting it to make amendment in the charges against the suspects in abetment to murder of each individual in the carnage.
The trial court in March last had reserved the verdict after the prosecution and defence lawyers completed their arguments on the plea that amendment in the charges against all seven suspects in abetment to murder of each individual in Mumbai attack should be made. 166 people, including six Americans, were killed and more than 300 injured in the attack in November 2008 by 10 Pakistani terrorists. The prosecution was of the view that it was seeking amendment to the changes “for further strengthening the case against the suspects”.
It had also pleaded for including the post-mortem reports of those killed in the attack. The prosecution said India should be asked to send the post-mortem reports of each victim of Mumbai attack while the defence lawyers opposed it. Meanwhile, the Mumbai attack case has faced inordinate delay as no proceedings were held for the previous seven consecutive hearings. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for May 25.
The Pakistani authorities are blaming India for the delay in the case, saying it cannot move further till the Indian government sends witnesses to Pakistan for recording statements in the case. “The seven consecutive hearings of the case were adjourned without any proceedings because the Pakistani government is still awaiting its counterpart’s response about sending (Indian) witnesses to Pakistan for recording statements in the case,” the court official said.
The foreign ministry of Pakistan had written to the Indian government about three months ago asking it to send all 24 Indian witnesses to Pakistan for recording statements in the trial court in Mumbai attacks case. According to prosecution lawyers, the trial court had already completed recording the statements of all (Pakistani)witnesses in the case which has been underway in the country for more than six years.
“Now the ball is in India’s court. The Indian government should send all Indian witnesses of the Mumbai case to Pakistan to record their statements so that the trial could further move ahead,” a prosecution lawyer said. Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum are accused of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the Mumbai attacks. Lakhvi is living in undisclosed location after he got released from jail on bail a year ago. The other six suspects are in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi.