Three years after the siege which rocked Mumbai, Pakistan and India will cooperate with each other to record statements of prosecution witnesses. PHOTO: FILE
LAHORE: Three years after the siege that rocked Mumbai, India has finally nominated a judicial commission to work with the Pakistan government to investigate the attacks on its financial capital.
Indo-Pak officials will for the first time cooperate with each other to interrogate Ajmal Kasab and record statements of prosecution witnesses residing in India, The Express Tribune has learnt. M Azhar Chaudhry, nominated as special prosecutor by the Pakistan government for the Mumbai terror case, will head a three-member team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The team will leave shortly for India accompanied by defence counsels of the men nominated in the Mumbai assault case in Pakistan, revealed interior ministry sources declining to be identified.
The FIA will submit a letter by the Indian government before Justice Shahid Rafique, judge of an anti-terrorism court hearing the case in Rawalpindi, on Tuesday (today). In compliance with the anti-terrorism court’s order, a judicial officer at Mumbai will be nominated to record statements of prosecution witnesses or those imprisoned in India , states the letter issued by the Indian home affairs ministry and forwarded to the FIA through Pakistan’s High Commission in India.
Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman caught alive after the attack, is imprisoned in a high-security cell in Mumbai. Chaudhry told The Express Tribune he had attributed the delay in the conclusion of the trial – more than 14 months – to the Indian government during the last hearing of the case. “The Indian government has been slow to nominate a judicial commission and to send copies of documentary evidence to FIA despite repeated requests.”
The judicial commission is expected to take statements from the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RV Sawant Waghule and Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale, who recorded Kasab’s confessional statement. It is also likely to record the statement of the doctor who carried out the post-mortem of the terrorists killed during the siege, sources revealed.
Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna, on the eve of the third anniversary of 26/11, had said India is waiting for Pakistan to act “decisively” after providing it with evidence against perpetrators in Pakistan.
The Indian foreign minister had said, “The use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy has no place in today’s world and is self-destructive. I think the evidence provided by the ministry of home affairs would be sufficient for any normal civilian court to prosecute the people involved in the conspiracy and the perpetrators of this crime.”
On Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had asked India to provide “credible evidence” against the perpetrators. He said Pakistan did take action against Hafiz Saeed and others based on information provided by India but the suspects were released by the courts because it did not count as legal evidence. “Pakistan is ready to take action on information shared by India, provided it is acceptable in court.”
Published in The Express Tribune