Indian legal experts extend Pakistan visit

A team of Indian legal experts has extended its visit to Pakistan till tomorrow in a bid to finalise the terms of reference of a judicial commission that is expected to visit India next year to gather evidence on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The four-member team, including legal experts from the Home and External Affairs ministries, was earlier scheduled to return yesterday at the conclusion of two-day talks with a Pakistani team led by Attorney General Irfan Qadir.

The team's visit was extended till Monday due to slow progress in the discussions to finalise the terms of reference for the Pakistani judicial commission, sources told PTI.
The two sides are discussing several contentious and complex issues, including the cross-examination of witnesses.

The Pakistani side wants to cross-examine the police officer who led the probe into the Mumbai attacks, the magistrate who recorded lone surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab's confessional statement and two doctors who conducted autopsies of nine terrorists killed during the attacks.

The sources said if New Delhi grants permission to cross- examine these four witnesses, Islamabad will be expected to reciprocate by granting access to Pakistani suspects for an Indian judicial commission that is expected to visit the country at a later stage.

The findings of the first Pakistani judicial commission that visited India in March to gather evidence on the Mumbai attacks were rejected by an anti-terrorism court as the panel's members were not allowed to cross-examine the Indian witnesses.

Pakistani authorities then decided to send a second judicial commission to Mumbai.

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