India took note of progress in 26/11 trial

India took note of progress in 26/11 trial

The public display of cordiality between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Kathmandu came after New Delhi took note of some recent signs of forward movement in the hitherto tardy trial of the seven 26/11 plotters at an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan.

New Delhi is still of the view that the recent progress is not enough and Islamabad should do more to expeditiously bring to justice the plotters of the November 26-28, 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, though the prime minister is understood to have taken into account that a new judge presided over four hearings since October 29 – the day the trial resumed after several adjournments in the preceding months.

India is understood to be closely monitoring the trial of the seven Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operatives–all accused of planning and coordinating the 26/11 attack–at the anti-terrorism court in Pakistan and is keenly waiting for the next hearing on December 3 to see if the recently infused momentum is maintained . The new judge, Kausar Abbas Zaidi, presided over a hearing on October 29, when three prosecution witnesses deposed before him.

This was the first hearing after Zaidi replaced Attiquer Rehman as the judge of the anti-terrorism court trying the LeT operatives. Rehman was the seventh judge to be transferred since the trial of the 26/11 plotters began in 2009.

The prosecution lawyers appointed by Pakistan government presented before the new judge three witnesses–an election official based at Multan in Punjab, a government doctor at a local hospital and a section officer of the Ministry of Interior.

The doctor presented before the court the DNA samples of Shahabuddin, the father of Imran Babar, one of the 10 Pakistani attackers who carried out the carnage in Mumbai.

The election official submitted before the court an electoral roll, which included the names of Shahabuddin, Babar and other members of the family. The officer of the Ministry of Interior informed the court about transmission of the statement of another terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

Babar and nine others were killed in firefight with security personnel in Mumbai, while Kasab was the lone terrorist to be captured alive. Kasab was later sentenced to death in India. He was executed on November 22, 2012.

The new judge presided over another hearing on November 12 when he dismissed a plea by prosecution lawyers to conduct the trial by video-link in order to protect the witnesses.

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