A special Pakistani court looking into the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case has just seen another judge being appointed — its ninth change in eight years. The anti-terrorism court (ATC) conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the attack has recently been changed again, a court official said today.
“ATC Judge Sohail Akram who had been conducting the 26/11 case for the last two years or so is transferred to the Punjab judicial services,” the official told PTI.
“It is a routine transfer of the judge in question,” he said. The Mumbai case has now been transferred to the court of Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi, who was the judge in the case before Akram, the official said.
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Besides Akram, the other judges who have been associated with the case that began in 2009 are Attiquer Rehman, Shahid Rafique, Malik Muhammad Akram Awan and Pervez Ali Shah. Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi – the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind — was granted bail in December 2014. Zaidi was the judge in the case at that time.
Zaidi had cited “weak evidence, the registration of the FIR invoking irrelevant sections and hearsay evidence against Lakhvi” in his bail order.
There has been no hearing in the Mumbai case in the Pakistani ATC after Islamabad told New Delhi to send its 24 witnesses to record their statements if the case was to be decided soon.
India had demanded re-investigation of the 26/11 case and asked that Jammat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed, who is currently under house arrest in Lahore under the anti-terrorism law, be put on trial.
Pakistan, however, rejected India’s request, saying it was ‘not possible as it (the trial) is on an advanced stage’.
India has been urging Pakistan to complete the trial at the earliest.
Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum are facing charges of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the attack that killed 166 people.
While Lakhvi has been living in an undisclosed location after getting bail, the other six suspects are lodged in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.