A Pakistani judicial panel will travel to India and interview key officials for four days beginning March 17, 2012 as part of the probe into the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, prosecutors said on Saturday.
The Pakistani prosecutors gave anti-terrorism court Judge Shahid Rafique details of the commission’s visit to India beginning on March 14, sources told PTI.
The panel will travel from Lahore to Delhi, where its members will be briefed by Indian authorities. The next day, the commission will travel to Mumbai.
The panel will record the statements of key Indian officials in Mumbai between March 17 and 20 before returning to Pakistan, the prosecutors told the court during proceedings held behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
The anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of seven suspects, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who have been charged with planning, financing and executing the terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people in November 2008.
The judge also disposed of an application from defence lawyers seeking the report of the chief investigation officer in Mumbai and adjourned the case till March 17, 2012.
The defence lawyers lodged a protest with the court for not providing them with copies of the itinerary of the visit to India.
“Despite the court’s direction, the coordinator of the commission is not providing us the itinerary,” defence lawyer Riaz Cheema told PTI.
The court has appointed Fazal Majid, a deputy director in the Interior Ministry, as the coordinator of the commission.
Mr. Cheema said: “We have been told that the coordinator will provide us the itinerary on Monday”.
He claimed the chief prosecutor had not confirmed whether visas had been issued to the commission’s members by India.
Senior Indian officials said Pakistani authorities were in touch with the Indian High Commission for processing the visas for the nine members of the commission.
Besides two prosecutors and the coordinator, the commission includes five defence lawyers and an official from the Foreign Ministry.
The commission is scheduled to record the statements of the magistrate who recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving attacker, the police officer who led the investigation in Mumbai and two doctors who conducted the autopsies of the terrorists and victims.
The commission can only record the statements of these persons and it cannot conduct any cross-examination, Indian officials said.
The trial of the seven Pakistani suspects has stalled due to various technical issues for the past year. Pakistani prosecutors have said the commission’s visit to India is necessary to take forward the trial.