As India marked the third anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks with demands for credible and speedy action against Pakistan-based masterminds, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik expressed the hope that his country would send a Judicial Commission to India within a week.
According to local media reports, Mr. Malik on Friday said the Pakistan government was awaiting court clearance for the names it had suggested for the Commission that would record the testimonies of the magistrate and investigating officer who recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, lone surviving terrorist.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, after paying homage to the victims early in the morning on Saturday, said: “We are still waiting for Pakistan to act decisively to bring to justice the perpetrators of the mindless violence that was unleashed on Mumbai. We are still waiting. I think the evidence provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs would be sufficient for any normal civilian court to prosecute the people involved in the conspiracy and the perpetrators of this crime. I once again call on our neighbour to bring the perpetrators of the crime to speedy justice.”
The Pakistan government has also sought access to the doctor who carried out the post mortem on the terrorists killed in the attack so as to record his statement for presenting it in the anti-terrorism court (ATC), which is hearing the case in the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. India's contention is that only two of the seven arrested by Pakistan in the case are of any consequence.
The issue of a Judicial Commission has been hanging fire for over a year now. Pakistan first mooted the Judicial Commission after India refused its request to send Kasab to testify in the ATC since the dossiers sent by New Delhi were inadmissible. As a way out of this stalemate, Pakistan decided to invoke the provisions of Chapter XL of Pakistan's Code of Criminal Procedure which provides for setting up such a Commission.
New Delhi agreed to a visit by the Judicial Commission in March this year at the Home/Interior Secretary-level talks after Islamabad conveyed its readiness, in principle, to entertain a Commission from India to Pakistan in connection with the case on the basis of the principle of comity and reciprocity, according to the joint statement issued at the end of the talks.
Meanwhile, the case in Pakistan has been proceeding at what India calls a “glacial speed” but Islamabad's contention is that New Delhi should appreciate the delays inherent in the judicial systems of both countries.
About the long-drawn out process, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that at the Prime Minister-level bilateral engagement in the Maldives “I told them that if you get exasperated on the Mumbai trial, Samjhauta happened months earlier than that. How come we are not showing our exasperation as you are? Because we have a reality check that the judicial process in India is very similar to the judicial process in Pakistan; and we know how these processes work.”
Further, she said, India did not raise the Mumbai terror attacks case in the Maldives the way it was raised in New Delhi at the Foreign Minister-level talks. “The Indians and the Indian media also were fairly satisfied on Mumbai.”
The case in Pakistan has seen delays because of frequent changes of judges and various parallel cases filed by the accused. At least five judges have been changed, one of them reportedly under threat. As to why the main accused, Hafiz Saeed of the Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, was still free, Mr. Malik's contention was that no credible evidence had been presented by India against him.
“In the case of Hafiz Saeed, they gave information, not evidence. We arrested Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and he is still in jail. He is a senior member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. We arrested Hafiz Saeed in the beginning, but he got relief from the High Court and later from the Supreme Court, and we could not keep him in jail. He had delivered fiery speeches and three cases were registered in Faisalabad which were quashed by the court. Even today he is under observation.''