26/11: Pak judicial panel to begin India visit Wednesday

March 13th, 2012 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) A Pakistani judicial commission begins a four-day visit to India Wednesday and will record the statements of key officials related to the 26/11 Mumbai carnage probe, an important step Islamabad says will quicken the trial of the Mumbai terror accused.

The judicial commission from Pakistan is expected to comprise 12 people, including defence lawyers Khwaja Haris, Riya Akram Choudhary, Fakhar Haayat, Raja Ehassan Ulhakhan and Isaam Bin Haris, Special Public Prosecutors Choudhary Mohammed Azhar and Choudhary Ali and court official Azad Khan.

The panel will be in Mumbai Thursday to record the statements of Ramesh Mahale, an investigating officer and R.V. Sawant Waghule, the magistrate who recorded the confessional statement of the lone surviving Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab, government sources said here Tuesday.

Kasab was among 10 Pakistanis who attacked Mumbai Nov 26, 2008 and unleashed a mayhem in the city that killed 166 people and injured several others.

The judicial panel will also question Nair hospital Medical Officer (forensic department) Shailesh Mohit and state government-run J J Hospital’s Medical Officer (forensic department) Ganesh Nitukar, who conducted the autopsies of the terrorists and victims. Special Public Prosecutor in the 26/11 terror attack trial Ujjwal Nikam would accompany Indian officers to be questioned by the Pakistani panel.

Waghule and Mahale have been summoned on March 16, said sources. The statements of the the doctors will be recorded on March 17.

The panel will present the statements of the four Indians related to the probe before an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan, which is conducting trial against seven suspects who are currently in Pakistani custody for their alleged role in the 26/11 carnage that includes the Lashkar e-Taiba’s Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind behind planning, financing and executing the Mumbai terror attacks.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who represented Maharashtra government in the trial against Kasab, has been appointed to assist the commission which will examine the witnesses at the Esplanade court itself.

Islamabad has contended that the charges against seven LeT militants lodged in a Pakistani jail were based on Kasab’s statement and hence the magistrate and the investigating officer’s statements were necessary to furnish before the anti-terror court.

Last year, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said that Kasab, convicted by an Indian court for the 26/11 terror attack, should be hanged.

Pakistan contends that the judicial commission’s report will quicken the trial of seven 26/11 terrorists in Pakistani custody. “Once that commission will go to India, its findings are important for the judicial process in Pakistan. When the findings are there, they will be covering all the legal sides. Then there will be some judicially-satisfactory statements,” he had said.

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