“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,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told journalists on the third anniversary of the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai.
“I once again call on our neighbour to bring the perpetrators of the crime to speedy justice,” he said.
A few weeks after 10 terrorists of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) carried out the three-day-long carnage in Mumbai, intense diplomatic pressure from New Delhi forced Islamabad to conduct an inquiry by the Federal Investigation Agency and to arrest seven for planning and aiding the attacks. The arrested include the LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
Not much progress
The trial of the seven LeT operatives in the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi, however, did not make much progress even as three years passed since the attack, which left at least 174 killed and countless others injured. A US-based investigating website ProPublica recently reported that the Pakistani Army chief Gen Asfaq Parvez Kayani had rejected a top US official’s suggestion to confiscate the cell-phone incarcerated Lakhvi was using in jail to keep in touch with LeT operatives outside.
The judge to hear the case was changed at least five times and it contributed to the delay in the trial.
Proceedings of the case got resumed recently after a gap of several weeks. Judge Shahid Rafique is at present hearing the case amid tight security inside the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Lakhvi had sought the transfer of the case from Rawalpindi to Lahore, saying he had no confidence in Judge Rafique. The High Court dismissed the petition on October 31. Only a handful of over 160 prosecution witnesses could testify so far.
Though India has ended its post 26/11 diplomatic chill with Pakistan and resumed bilateral dialogue, New Delhi has been calling upon Islamabad to speed up the trial.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik had earlier said that it was necessary for a Pakistani Judicial Commission to visit India and interview a magistrate and police officers involved in the 26/11 investigation, so that the trial of the seven alleged 26/11 operatives in Rawalpindi could be speeded up.
Malik said that almost all legal formalities to send a Pakistani Judicial Commission to India was complete and Islamabad was waiting New Delhi to finalise the venue and timing of the panel’s visit to India.
“We are still waiting for Pakistan to act decisively to bring to justice the perpetrators of the mindless violence that was unleashed on Mumbai. We are still waiting,” Krishna said Saturday.
Asked about the visit of Pakistani Judicial Commission to India, Krishna said that the two countries were working on its modalities. “It has been agreed in principle. Let us wait for the dates,” he said.
Arguing that no cause could justify terror as a means to achieve goals, Krishna noted that the fight against the scourge “cannot be selective”. “The scourge of terrorism has to be comprehensively fought and eradicated in all its forms and manifestations," he said.
“It must be realised that use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, has no place in today’s world and is self destructive,” Krishna said, sending out a message to Islamabad.
The Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi on November 19 last recorded the statement of Sardar Muhammad Azam, who was a Deputy Director of the Federal Investigation Agency when an FIR was lodged in connection with the 26/11. The case would again come up on November 29 next.
Moshe wishes dead parents good night
Three years ago, Baby Moshe, the unforgettable face of Mumbai attacks, escaped the carnage clinging to his nanny not knowing that his parents were killed, but now a four-year-old he knows they have fallen victims to terrorists, reports PTI from Jerusalem.
Orphaned by the terrorists who struck Mumbai, Moshe is now a happy and carefree child, though he remembers his parents whenever he sees their photographs, saying good morning or good night to “eema” (mother) and “abba” (father) each day. Running around or resorting to childish mischief like any four-year-old, he often gives a tough time to his maternal grandparents Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg with whom he is living presently in Afula.