Lahore HC rejects Lakhvi's plea against indictment over 26/11

Lahore HC rejects Lakhvi's plea against indictment over 26/11

Pakistan-based LeT's operations chief and Mumbai attacks mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi on Thursday failed to get any reprieve from the Lahore High Court, which disposed of his two petitions challenging his indictment for involvement in the 26/11 strikes.

While disposing of the petitions, a Rawalpindi-based bench of the Lahore High Court only directed the anti-terrorism court, which had formally charged him along with six other suspects last month with involvement in the 26/11 strikes, to consider Lakhvi's objections against his indictment under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Lakhvi's lawyer Khwaja Sultan Ahmed claimed during proceedings that the prosecution had no incriminating evidence against his client. He also said the statement given to Indian authorities by Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone attacker captured in Mumbai, is not admissible in the anti-terrorism court.

However, the judges told Ahmed such issues could be addressed only when the evidence, including Kasab's statement, is presented during the trial in the anti-terrorism court. It is not possible for such matters to be addressed now, they indicated.

Lakhvi's counsel filed the petitions challenging his indictment in the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court yesterday.

Lakhvi was indicted along with six other suspects for planning and helping execute the attacks that killed 166 people in India's financial hub.

In one petition, Lakhvi claimed there were no evidence and witnesses against him except Kasab and five policemen involved in a case registered in Pakistan.

The policemen cited as witnesses by the prosecution had only described Lakhvi as a commander of the LeT and accused him of training people for terrorist activities, he claimed.

Lakhvi pointed out that witnesses had not said anything about his involvement in the Mumbai attacks. He also claimed that Kasab's statement to Indian authorities is not admissible in a case registered in Islamabad.

In his second petition, Lakhvi challenged the anti-terrorism court's decision to try Kasab separately under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He said these provisions can be applied only when a co-accused cannot appear in court due to illness or other reasons.

Lakhvi claimed the prosecution has not stated any reason for Kasab's absence from the Pakistani court.

Lakhvi was formally indicted along with Zarar Shah, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Abu al Qama, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum last month.

The next hearing of the case against them in the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi's high-security Adiala jail is scheduled for December 5.

Twenty other suspects who are at large were also accused of planning and helping carry out the attacks a year ago.

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