Lawyers defending LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six others charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks have said none of them will go to India as part of a proposed commission to record the testimony of key witnesses, including surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab.
“We will not go to India because of security concerns. There has been hatred among the general public against Kasab,” senior advocate Khwaja Sultan, the counsel for Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Lakhvi, told PTI.
Mr. Sultan noted that the lawyer of Fahim Ansari, one of the Indians accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks, was shot dead. “We cannot risk our lives by going to India when we are the counsel for the accused here,” he said. He claimed it would not be easy for the Indian government to provide security to the proposed commission. “We have also conveyed this to the judge,” he said.
Federal Investigation Agency’s special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulifqar Ali told PTI that a defence lawyer should be part of the commission as there would be no problems related to security issues. “The Indian government will ensure our security,” he said.
Pakistan’s FIA has filed an application in the anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of the seven accused seeking the formation of a commission to go to India to record the statements of key witnesses, including Kasab, a magistrate and a police officer.
The prosecution said in its application that a representative of the defence lawyers should be made part of the commission so that he could cross-examine the witnesses.
During the last hearing of the Mumbai attacks case on Saturday, the anti-terrorism court asked the prosecution to clarify if it had obtained permission from Indian authorities for the proposed commission to visit the neighbouring country.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled for October 2.
Lakhvi and the six other suspects have been charged with planning, facilitating and financing the attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai in November 2008.