‘Pak lawyers prepared for India visit’
REZAUL H LASKAR/PTI
Islamabad, Dec 17: Counsel of seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks today informed an anti-terrorism court that five lawyers were prepared to go to India as part of a judicial commission that will quiz witnesses and officials.
The defence team submitted the names of the five lawyers who were ready to join the commission during in-camera proceedings in Rawalpindi.
The five lawyers include Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi's counsel Khwaja Sultan, Riaz Cheema, Asam bin Haris and Fakhar-e-Hayat.
The defence team submitted the passports and other documents of the five lawyers to the court.
Sultan filed an application asking the court to direct the Federal Investigation Agency's prosecutors to inform defence lawyers about details of the planned visit to India, particularly security arrangements.
The judge directed Khalid Qureshi, the head of the FIA's Special Investigation Group, to keep defence lawyers in the loop about arrangements for the visit.
The judge then adjourned the case till January 3. There were no arguments today on an application filed by the prosecution at the last hearing on December 10 seeking voice samples of the seven suspects. In a separate development, Sultan told PTI that he feared India might not grant him a visa as authorities there had reportedly declared him "persona non grata".
"After I represented some persons linked to hijacking cases, the Indian government declared me persona non grata. If India doesn't issue me a visa, none of us (defence lawyers) will go to India as part of the commission," Sultan said.
At the last hearing, the defence lawyers made a reversal from their earlier stand and informed the court that they were willing to travel to India with the judicial commission.
The Pakistani commission will work with Indian law officers to question and record the statements of witnesses and key officials, including the magistrate who recorded lone surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab’s confession, the police officer who led the investigation in Mumbai and doctors who conducted the autopsies of the victims and attackers.
The prosecution has said it is important for the commission to visit India so that the trial in Pakistan can be taken forward.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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