Pak court issues fresh warrants against Kasab, Ansari in 26/11 case

Last Updated 10 July 2010, 09:33 IST

Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan, who is conducting the trial behind closed doors at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for security reasons, heard arguments by the prosecution and defence including on Kasab and Ansari, who are currently in custody in India.
At the last hearing on July 3, the prosecution had told the court that the Indian government had said Kasab could not be sent to Pakistan to join the proceedings.
Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist arrested for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has been convicted and sentenced to death by a court in Mumbai.

Ansari, an Indian, was acquitted in the Mumbai attack case by the same court but continues to be in custody in connection with other offences.

During today's proceedings, the prosecution's request for fresh arrest warrants against Kasab and Ansari reportedly irked Judge Awan, who said he had already issued warrants on an earlier occasion.

The judge said it was the Pakistan government's responsibility to get Indian authorities to enforce the warrants issued earlier.

Defence lawyers too opposed the prosecution's demand for fresh warrants, with Lashker-e-Taiba commander Lakhvi's counsel Khwaja Sultan saying that Kasab had already been convicted and sentenced.

Sultan also said that no purpose would be served by bringing Kasab to Pakistan to join the anti-terrorism court's proceedings.

Sources said the judge finally agreed to issue fresh arrest warrants for Kasab and Ansari and adjourned the proceedings till July 24.

Sultan submitted a bail application on behalf of Lakhvi. The application said that Lakhvi had no known criminal record and he was not wanted for any other crimes.It said that there was no other chargesheet against Lakhvi and that he had not been convicted for any crimes.

The application further stated that Lakhvi should be released as the prosecution had been unable to produce any solid evidence against him during the 19 months that he has been in detention for alleged involvement in Mumbai attacks.

Sultan told PTI that the bail application is expected to be taken up on July 13.Sources said the court's decision to defer proceedings for a fortnight was apparently linked to Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's visit to Islamabad for talks with his Pakistani counterpart on July 15. The anti-terrorism court's hearing of the Mumbai case was also put off during Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram's visit to Islamabad last month to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik.

The official reason given at the time was that the judge was on leave.Indian officials have said they are "not satisfied" with the progress in the trial of the seven suspects and it is understood that Chidambaram raised this issue with Malik during their talks.

Chidambaram is believed to have pressed for stronger action by Pakistan to bring to justice all planners, financiers and handlers of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai.

(Published 10 July 2010, 09:33 IST)

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