Lahore: A Pakistani anti-terrorism court today dismissed a plea to conduct the trial of seven accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks case including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi through video-link and asked authorities to ensure security for the witnesses and others.
Anti-Terrorism court Judge of Islamabad, Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi, dismissed the prosecution's plea to allow the witnesses to submit their recorded statements in the court because of security reasons.
“The court dismissed the prosecutions plea and ordered that the case hearing will continue to be held at the Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi and security be ensured for the witnesses and others,” the court sources told PTI.
Earlier before his transfer, Judge Attiquer Rehman had stopped holding the trial at Adiala Jail following “poor security arrangements” a few months ago. “Owing to the security issues we request the court hold the trial through a video-link for their and witnesses security,” the prosecution lawyers pleaded.
The defence lawyers had argued against the prosecution's plea saying “This is a sensitive and in-camera trial. The court proceedings will be accessible to many if it is allowed to be held through a video-link. How can the court trust witnesses statements in a CD form?”
“It can easily be tampered with and in no way will be admissible in the court. Therefore, the court should reject the prosecution's plea,” they said.
Two witnesses - one from Federal Investigation Agency and other from foreign ministry - also appeared in the court, the sources said.
The foreign ministry official told the court about receiving the transcript of Ajmal Kasab statement from India and its submission to the FIA. The FIA official confirmed the receiving of the transcript.
Earlier, the prosecutors had drawn the court's attention towards threats they received allegedly from the Jamaat-ud-Dawah activists. The judge adjourned the hearing till November 19.
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Anjum have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks in India's financial capital that killed 166 people in November, 2008.