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Lakhvi's hearing adjourned by Pak SC

May 12, 2010 00:05 IST
Pakistan's Supreme Court adjourned for two weeks the hearing of Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi's petition seeking his acquittal in a case related to the Mumbai attacks in order to study Ajmal Kasab's confessional statement.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry put off the matter for a fortnight after receiving a copy of Kasab's confessional statement in English from Lakhvi's counsel Khwaja Sultan.

In his petition, Lakhvi had sought his acquittal in a case in a Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court and the termination of criminal proceedings against him. Lakhvi's counsel had also asked the apex court to bar the anti-terrorism court and the prosecution from using Kasab's statement against his client because it was recorded by an Indian magistrate. During a hearing last week, the bench had sought a copy of Kasab's confessional statement as it was linked to an important case in Pakistan. On receiving a copy of Kasab's 11-page statement, Chief Justice Chaudhry said the bench needed time to go through the document.

The chief justice also told Sultan that he should have filed the statement a day ahead of the hearing so that the bench could have studied it. Sultan said he had tried to file the statement before the hearing but the concerned officer refused to accept it.

In his confessional statement, Kasab had named Lakhvi as the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. A special court in Mumbai recently convicted Kasab, a Pakistani national, on charges of murder and waging war against India and sentenced him to death. Lakhvi is being tried with six other suspects by the anti-terrorism court.

Lakhvi's counsel earlier told the apex court that his client was declared an accused in the Mumbai attacks case in light of Kasab's statement recorded by an Indian magistrate. Sultan contended that Kasab's statement was not before any Pakistani court and so Lakhvi could not be named as an accused in the case.

Sultan also claimed that the prosecution made no allegation about Lakhvi having any connection or interaction with any of his co-accused and the persons involved in the Mumbai attacks. The prosecution's case was based on Kasab's confession alone, Sultan claimed.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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