A lawyer for one of the suspects in the Mumbai attacks case that is being heard in an anti-terror court here has expressed his strong protest against the secrecy order on the proceedings.
Shahbaz Rajput, lawyer for Hammad Amin Sadiq, told The Hindu that the in-camera order by the anti-terror court was not in the interests of justice and a fair trial for his client.
“The in-camera order is against the interests of my client,” he said.
Mr. Rajput refused to tell if he had filed an appeal against the order, saying he had been gagged by the court and could not disclose anything about the proceedings.
“But I can tell you that I feel very strongly about it,” Mr. Rajput said.
Judge Baqir Ali Rana of the anti-terror court at Rawalpindi’s high-security Adiala Jail last week warned that any leaks about the proceedings would be treated as contempt of court.
The judge heard the case again on Saturday but the in-camera order ensured that very little information about the proceedings got out. After hearing the case for about an hour, he adjourned the hearing by two weeks to September 19.
Seven suspects have so far been produced before the court. The judge seems to have put off the indictment of five of the suspects against whom two chargesheets have already been filed by the Federal Investigation Agency, which is in charge of tracking down the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, two top operatives of the Laskhar-e-Taiba, are among the five, as well as Hammad Amin Sadiq.
Legal experts said that as two more suspects were produced in the court after the filing of charges against the first five, the judge might be waiting for the FIA to complete investigations against the two additional suspects in order to indict them all together.
The Hindu learnt that the judge refused to grant the FIA an extension for the custody of Younus, the seventh suspect who was produced in court for the first time on August 29. The court sent him to judicial remand.
Earlier this week, a bail plea by the sixth suspect, Jamil Ahmed, was turned down.
Mr. Rajput said that in-camera proceedings were unnecessary because the hearings were already taking place inside a high security prison. Journalists and members of the public are not allowed in any case.
“Jail trial is good enough, ensuring the security of clients, counsel, investigators and judge,” said Mr. Rajput.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has once again reiterated his government’s commitment not to allow Pakistan to be used for terrorist activities, and urged India to resume talks. “We want relations with India on equal basis and it is our resolve that we will not allow our soil to be used for terrorism and, therefore, we wanted a proper dialogue to be resumed as in the present situation the terrorists are benefiting,” he said. The Prime Minister was talking to journalists in Karachi. “If there will not be bilateral talks, the terrorists will take advantage of the same,” he is reported to have said.