Pak court approves plea to send 26/11 records

Islamabad: A Pakistani court has approved a plea to send the records of the trial of seven suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks along with a judicial commission that is set to visit India to interview key officials. Anti-terrorism court judge Shahid Rafique accepted the Federal Investigation Agency`s application to send the records of the trial and other court documents to the Indian judge who will work with the Pakistani judicial commission when it visits Mumbai.

The FIA had filed the application in court on Tuesday and the judge announced his decision the following day, sources told PTI. Judge Rafique assigned a court clerk the task of acting as the custodian of the records of the case.

The court recently cleared the commission`s visit to India to record the statements of magistrate R V Sawant Waghule, who recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving attacker, Ramesh Mahale, the police officer who led the investigation, and two doctors who conducted the autopsies of victims and terrorists killed during the attacks in November 2008.

Senior prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told reporters that the Pakistan government had completed all formalities for the commission`s visit and that the ball was now in the Indian government`s court.

Pakistani authorities had requested the Indian government to notify the date on which the commission could begin its visit, he said.  The 10-member commission will include prosecutors Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali and Azhar Chaudhry, FIA Additional Director Azad Khan, a senior official of the Foreign Ministry, a court clerk and defence lawyers Khwaja Sultan, Asam bin Haris, Fakhar Hayat, Riaz Cheema and Ihsan Satti.

The defence lawyers will be given an opportunity to cross-examine the Indian officials. After recording the statements of the Indian officials, the commission will hand them over to the FIA for further proceedings in the anti-terrorism court. FIA prosecutors said Kasab`s confessional statement admitted the involvement of the seven Pakistani suspects.

Pakistani authorities had initially wanted the Indian officials to testify in the anti-terrorism court but this proposal was turned down by New Delhi. Pakistani officials have said the commission`s visit to India is a key requirement for taking forward the prosecution of the seven suspects, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.