A Pakistani anti-terror court formally indicted seven suspects, including Lashkar-e- Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, arrested for alleged involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks and adjourned the case for a week.
Judge Baqir Ali Rana, conducting the trial behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, formally charged the suspects after hearing arguments by prosecution and defence lawyers, sources told PTI.
There was no official word on the proceedings due to a gag order issued by the court though. The judge scheduled the next hearing for October 17.
However, Khwaja Sultan, one of the four defence lawyers, raised objections about the manner in which the suspects were indicted. Sultan told reporters that none of the lawyers were present in court at the time of the indictment.
Sultan said today's hearing was held at the same time that a group of terrorists attacked the Pakistan Army's headquarters in Rawalpindi. He quoted the judge as saying that since the situation outside the court was uncertain, those who wanted to leave the premises could do so.
The lawyers left the court after completing their arguments and learnt later that their clients had been indicted, Sultan said. He said he would raise the matter with authorities.
Earlier, during the hearing that lasted about three hours, lawyers representing suspects told the court that the evidence against their clients was insufficient to indict them.
However, the prosecution said it had enough evidence against the suspects, including five members of the LeT, sources said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik too told a news channel that the charges had been framed against the suspects.
The trial is being conducted at Adiala Jail due to security concerns and the media has been barred from attending the proceedings.
The seven suspects Lakhvi, communications expert Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
They have been accused of training and providing financial support, accommodation, equipment and communications gear to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November last year.
On October 5, Judge Rana rejected the bail application of Younas Anjum, a resident of Khaniwal in the southern Punjab. Anjum had claimed in his bail application that he was implicated in the Mumbai attacks case. PTI