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Mumbai trial adjourned again

Islamabad: The trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks was today adjourned for a week as the new judge appointed to hear the case is yet to assume office. Court officials said the proceedings were adjourned till June 30 as Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman, who was appointed the judge of the Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court no 1 on Wednesday, was yet to take charge.

The anti-terrorism court no 1 is conducting the trial of those charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks and the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto. There have been no hearings in the Mumbai attacks case since June 5, when the last judge of anti-terrorism court no 1 was transferred and posted. For over two weeks, no judge was appointed to replace him. The judge hearing the Mumbai attacks case has been changed five times since proceedings began in early 2009.

The trial has dragged on behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi without much progress. The proceedings have been marred by numerous controversies and technical delays, and only a handful of over 160 prosecution witnesses have testified so far. In September last year, there were no proceedings for several weeks as no judge was assigned to the case. The seven suspects, including Lakhvi, have been charged with planning, financing and executing the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people in November 2008.

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