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Pak anti-terror court adjourns 26/11 case to Feb 4

Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Saturday adjourned to February four the trial of LeT`s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects in the Mumbai attack case after prosecutors sought more time in the wake of a related petition before a High Court which is yet to decide the matter.

Prosecutors sought more time from judge Rana Nisar Ahmed of the Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court so that the Lahore High Court could decide on the Federal Investigation Agency`s (FIA`s) petition seeking a direction for Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the Mumbai attacks, and Fahim Ansari to be declared proclaimed offenders or fugitives, sources said.

Ansari was accused of surveying the places to be targeted during the 26/11 terror strikes and passing maps to his Pakistani handlers.

Judge Ahmed listed the matter for February 4 and there were no further proceedings in the trial, which is being held at the high-security Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

Official sources in Lahore said the High Court had listed the FIA petition for hearing on February 2.

The FIA filed the petition in the Lahore High Court to challenge the anti-terrorism court`s decision not to declare Kasab and Ansari as fugitives.

Legal experts said the move would add to the complexity of the trial of the seven Pakistani suspects, including Lakhvi.

They earlier said proceedings in the anti-terrorism court were unlikely to move forward till the case in the High Court is settled.

The FIA`s petition asks the High Court to declare Kasab and Ansari as proclaimed offenders, to issue non-bailable warrants for them and to de-link their case from that of the seven Pakistani suspects.

Kasab has already been sentenced to death by a special court in Mumbai for his role in the attacks that killed 166 people. Ansari was acquitted by the same court but continues to be in custody for other cases.

The FIA contended in its petition that Kasab and Ansari should be declared proclaimed offenders as they were in the custody of Indian authorities and could not be brought to Pakistan.

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