Agreement finalised on visit of Pak judicial panel to India

Islamabad: India and Pakistan on Tuesday finalised the terms of reference for a judicial commission expected to visit India to gather evidence on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks after talks held over the past five days.

An agreement on the visit of the second Pakistani judicial commission to Mumbai was finalised this evening following several rounds of discussions on complex technical and legal issues, official sources told PTI.

The talks began on Thursday after a four-member Indian team, including legal experts from the Home and External Affairs Ministries, arrived in Islamabad.

The two sides reached an agreement following protracted discussions on the terms of reference.

However, the Indian side continued to have some concerns that were formally conveyed to Pakistani officials, the sources said without giving details.

The Indian side formally conveyed to the Pakistani officials that in the case of countries like India and Pakistan, which do not have a mutual legal assistance treaty, an executive agreement between the two governments would take precedence over local laws, the sources said.

The sources further said it would take some more time to finalise the visit of the Pakistani commission.

First, permission for the visit would have to be sought from the Bombay High Court.

Subsequently, permission would have to be sought from the Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

The Indian team was earlier scheduled to return on Saturday at the conclusion of two-day talks with a Pakistani team that included prosecutors from the Federal Investigation Agency and officials of the Interior Ministry and National Crisis Management Cell.