Islamabad, Feb 11: Pakistan has written another letter to India saying its judicial commission will visit Mumbai between February 15 and February 25 to record statements of officials linked with the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani officials said.
India will nominate its presiding officer in Mumbai for assisting the visiting panel in recording evidences and statements from the magistrate who recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab, the police officer who led the investigation in Mumbai, and two doctors who conducted the autopsies on the terrorists and their victims.
The message was conveyed via letter sent to Indian government through the Pak Foreign Office on Friday.
“It will be an opportunity for us to remove uncertainty surrounding the fate of the 26/11 trial in both India and Pakistan,” said senior prosecutor Azhar Chaudhry.
Last week, Pakistan conveyed to India that the judicial commission could not visit Mumbai because of “legal complications”.
The tentative visit was initially proposed for February 3 to February 6. However the defence counsel had raised issues related to a notification issued by the government over the visit.
The trial was once more mired in uncertainty when both legal panels (defence lawyers and prosecutors) failed to communicate with each other exactly when they will visit India
“This visit will pave the way for the court to proceed on the 26/11 trial against six accused persons in Pakistan for smooth functioning of laws,” observed Khawaja Haris Ahmed, counsel for Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. “The move, of course, will lead the case towards conclusion.”
India is considering the request seriously and will indicate to Islamabad after nominating a new presiding officer by next week, hoped a senior Indian diplomat stationed in Pakistan.
Mumbai police, the diplomat said, will welcome the Pakistani judicial commission in third and fourth week of February.
Khwaja Haris clarified that “the statement of Indian officials will be recorded under Pakistani laws.”
He added that the statement will be recorded under section 503 (2) b of the Pakistan code of criminal procedure.
The final schedule for the proposed visit will be presented in the court on Tuesday, with Azhar Chaudhry to head the defence panel in India.
Anti-Terrorism Court Rawalpindi had issued directions for constitution of a commission, authorising a defence panel consisting of five lawyers and two prosecutors for recording evidences in India.
Khwaja Haris will head defence panel while Azhar Chaudhry will lead prosecutors during this visit. An official of the court will also accompany the nine member judicial commission.
This contingent will first pay a visit to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi before leaving for Mumbai, Azhar Chaudhry told The Express Tribune.
This panel is scheduled to interview the magistrate who recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab, the police officer who led the investigation in Mumbai, and two doctors who conducted the autopsies on the terrorists and their victims.
An Indian panel had already been visited to Pakistan pertaining to this case. The panel was briefed and handed over the documents related to investigations against the accused being conducted in Pakistan last year