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Pak court adjourns 26/11 case hearing

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
December 24, 2009 15:01 IST
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A Pakistani anti-terror court on Thursday adjourned till January 6 next year the proceedings against seven suspects, including Laskar-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks even as a notice was issued to one of the defence lawyers.

Anti-terror court Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan, who was not present in court on Thursday due to some personal engagement, is yet to rule on four applications filed by the accused challenging their indictment and seeking their acquittal.

It is expected that the judge will give his ruling on the applications at the next hearing as he has already heard arguments by prosecution and defence lawyers.

Sources said one of the defence lawyers was issued a notice on Thursday by the office of Judge Awan regarding the lawyer's contention that the judge had indicted the accused on the basis of charges that were framed and argued while the case was being heard by another judge.

The notice pointed out that the records of the case are sealed and the lawyer could make such a claim only if he had accessed the records. The notice also said that if the lawyer had accessed the sealed records, he had interfered in the working of the court.

The lawyer was asked to explain his position at the next hearing. The proceedings are being conducted in Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail for security reasons.

The seven accused Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum were formally charged last month with planning and helping execute the assault on India's financial hub.

They had then pleaded not guilty. The accused have sought their acquittal on the ground that there is no probability of their conviction because there is insufficient evidence against them.

The defence lawyers have also raised the issue of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested for the Mumbai attacks, making a complete retraction of his confession on participating in the assault.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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