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Pakistan rakes up Samjhauta Express blast as India protests 26/11 trial delay

This February 19, 2007 photo shows the charred bogies of the Samjhauta Express at Panipat. Responding to India's protest against the delay in the 26/11 terror attacks case trial in Pakistan, Islamabad on Friday expressed concern over the delay in the trial of the 2007 Samjhauta Express case.  

Pakistan has told India that the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial was a judicial matter and there was nothing the government could do over the adjournment of the trial, The Hindu has learnt.

Along with that, Pakistan also expressed its concern over the delay in the Samjhauta Express blasts trial in India.

Earlier in the day, >India summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, two days after the ongoing trial of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks was adjourned in Pakistan on Wednesday.

In an exclusive conversation with The Hindu, the Pakistan High Commission said it had conveyed its inability to “do anything” in the matter to the Indian government.

“Like everywhere else in the developed world, the judiciary (in Pakistan) is independent… the executive has nothing to do with it,” Manzoor Ali Memon, spokesperson for the Pakistan High Commission told The Hindu.

“Our job is to present evidence and prosecute the accused…we cannot push the judiciary…it is an independent institution and takes its own time,” said Mr. Memon.

Pakistan also expressed concern over the delay in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing case, in which 68 people were killed, most of them Pakistanis.

“Families of the Samjhauta Express (blast) victims are waiting to see the perpetrators of that heinous incident brought to justice,” said Mr. Memon.

The same was reiterated to Indian deputy commissioner in Islamabad Gopal Baglay by the Pakistan Foreign Office.

Riffat Masood, Director-General (South Asia and SAARC) at Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Indian Deputy High Commissioner that the 26/11 trial was taking its legal course and efforts were being made for its early conclusion.

Ms. Masood said it was “necessary that the outcome of (Samjhauta Express case) investigations be shared with Pakistan at the earliest”.

The trial of the seven Pakistani accused, going on in a Pakistan anti-terrorism court, was adjourned for the seventh time on Wednesday, leading India’s “strong diplomatic protest” with Pakistan on Friday.

“The Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi was summoned to the Foreign Office today. Also the Indian Deputy High Commissioner went to the Pakistan Foreign Office and has lodged a similar protest,” official sources told The Hindu.

In the meetings — in New Delhi as well as in Islamabad — Indian officials sought regular briefings on the progress of the trial and the investigation being conducted by Pakistani authorities.

Indian officials also reiterated the “high importance India attaches to bring to justice all those responsible in Pakistan for the Mumbai terrorist attacks”, the sources said.

The last two hearings in the trial could not take place because of the presiding judge being on leave. Earlier, on four occasions, trial could not be held owing to the prosecution lawyers being absent over security reasons.

In June, the trial, which was going on in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, was transferred to another recently set up ATC in Islamabad.

The seven Pakistani nationals being tried for planning and executing the 26/11 attacks are: Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Anjum.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 12:55:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-rakes-up-2007-samjhauta-express-blast-as-india-protests-2611-mumbai-terror-attacks-case-delay/article6249444.ece

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