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Last Pakistani prosecution witness testifies in Mumbai case

By Our Staff Reporter 2018-05-24
ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) here on Wednesday asked the federal government to take a final decision about bringing 27 Indian citizens to the witness box in the Mumbai attacks case by June 27.

ATC judge Shahrukh Arjumand issued the order during proceedings of the Mumbai attacks case. On May 16 the court had issued notices to the interior and foreign af f airs secretaries and sought their response on bringing the 27 Indians to Pakistan for recording of their testimony against Pakistani suspects in the case.

On Wednesday the ATC recorded statement of prosecution witness Wajid Zia, who was part of the joint investigation team constitutedtoinvestigatetheattacksinMumbai.

The last prosecution witness in the case, Zahid Akhtar, also got his statement recorded.

The defence counsel, however, sought an adjournment because he planned to crossexamine the witness later on. Subsequently,the court adjourned further proceedings till June 6. The court also took up an application filed by the interior ministry in which the interior secretary had said the court would be informed of the availability of the 27 Indian witnesses by June 27.

In January 2016, the Pakistani government had contacted Indian officials, asking them to send the 27 witnesses to Pakistan to testify against the suspects, including the alleged mastermind of the attacks.

The alleged mastermind, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and the other suspects Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed, Younus Anjum and Sufyan Zafar are being tried by the Islamabad ATC since 2009.

The prosecution in the case has completed the testimony of all the Pakistani witnesses.

Though the Indian government in 2012 and 2013 constituted a commission for recording the statements of witnesses, the exercise remained confined to only four of them agreed upon by both the countries vide an agreement signed in 2010. These four witnesses were magistrate R.V. Sawant Waghule, who recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab; Ramesh Mahale, the chief investigation of ficer of the case; and Ganesh Dhunraj and Chintaman Mohite, the doctors who carried out post-mortems on the bodies of civilians and terrorists kille din the attacks.