Pak plans to send commission to India to quiz 26/11 witnesses

"We will request the court to form a commission and that commission can go (to India) and record the statement of witnesses, including the magistrate and police officers who recorded the statement of (Ajmal) Kasab," Malik told reporters.

Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the November 2008 attacks, has been convicted and sentenced to death by a court in Mumbai.

New Delhi has rejected Islamabad's request to send Kasab to testify in the anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including Lashker-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah.

India has suggested that the magistrate and police officers who recorded Kasab's confessional statement could testify via video conferencing in the anti-terrorism court.
Malik said the provisions of Pakistani laws allowed the formation of a commission to go to India to record the statements of key witnesses.

"So if India and our court agree to the formation of the commission, that is the way forward. We feel this commission is very necessary because some legal issues have cropped up," Malik told reporters yesterday.

Pakistan wants "clear those legal issues" standing in the way of the trial of the seven suspects, he said.

"We mean business. We want our prosecution to be strengthened. Till we can provide them the things needed under the law, the prosecution cannot move forward because we can't take a short cut with court procedures," he said.

Malik also said Pakistan is making "every effort" to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice and "will offer full cooperation to India".

The anti-terrorism court is expected to take up the prosecution's application on allowing Indian witnesses to testify via video conferencing during the next hearing scheduled for September 18.

Defence lawyers have opposed the move, saying it is not permissible under Pakistani laws.

"The laws on this issue are not developed in Pakistan. Existing laws cover video conferencing between Pakistani courts and jails and not institutions or persons in foreign countries," Shahbaz Rajput, one of the defence lawyers, told PTI.

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