The Pakistan judicial commission’s visit to Mumbai for cross-examining witnesses in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike case has been shifted by four days to September 11. The postponement comes in the wake of the cancellation of the September 7 flight — on which the eight-member team was to travel — from Lahore to New Delhi, said panel chief Chaudhury Mohammed Azhar on Tuesday.
He said the trial court would be informed of the change in the commission’s visit. The panel would spend at least a week in India, he said.
Unlike on its Mumbai visit last year, the panel will be allowed to cross-examine the four witnesses.
The Pakistan government had earlier made a formal request to India to enable the visit of the judicial commission to meet four witnesses including Ramesh Mahale, the investigating officer of the terror strike, Rama Vijay Sawant-Waghule, the magistrate who recorded the confession of Ajmal Kasab and the two doctors who performed the autopsies on the nine suspected terrorists who were killed in the three-day operation by the National Security Guard.
The Indian government had suggested September 3 and 4 or September 7 and 8, 2013.
The court had rejected the commission’s report last year as it had been unable, by a magistrate’s order, to cross-examine witnesses or meet doctors who conducted the post-mortems. The Anti Terrorism Court is hearing the case in camera here; it was earlier being heard in Rawalpindi. Ujjwal Nikam, who was special public prosecutor in Mumbai for the case, had opposed the cross-examination and contended that the commission must be allowed only to record statements.
Mr. Nikam confirmed that the commission would be allowed to cross-examine witnesses. Mr. Nikam said he and three officials had visited Pakistan in connection with the case sometime ago. The previous prosecutor, Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, was shot dead on his way to the Rawalpindi court in May this year. Heavy security has now been provided to Mr. Azhar.