Hopes that the trial of seven suspects arrested by Pakistani authorities in the Mumbai attacks case would begin soon have receded, with the judge and defence counsel at loggerheads and both appealing that the case be transferred to some other court.

On Wednesday, the Lahore High Court took up an application for transfer of the case filed on Monday by Khwaja Sultan, who represents Zakiur Rehman, the operations commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, among the seven arrested for planning the Mumbai attacks from Pakistan.

Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif referred the matter to Baqir Ali Rana, judge of Rawalpindi’s Anti-Terrorism Court 2 hearing the Mumbai attacks case, for his comments on the contents of the application.

“We have placed on record before the Lahore High Court our concerns that the judge [of the anti-terror court] is acting under directions from the Interior Minister,” Mr. Sultan, a top-notch criminal lawyer, told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rana has also approached the High Court with an application for the case to be transferred out of his court. In a reference sent to the High Court on Tuesday, Mr. Rana said he could not hear the case “for unavoidable reasons.”

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