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India delayed 26/11 probe, says Pakistan

Last updated on: July 11, 2009 23:17 IST
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Pakistan on Saturday said the trial of the five accused in the Mumbai terror attack case will get underway next week.

"The first step was the investigation, which we have completed successfully. The second step is the trial, which is going to start in the next few days," Malik told a news conference after he shared the findings of the probe with India's acting High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra.

Malik said 13 more people had been declared "proclaimed offenders" by Pakistani authorities. Though Malik did not name the suspects, other sources told PTI they are Mohammad Amjad Khan, a 'facilitator' from Karachi, Iftikhar Ali, who deposited 250 dollars in Islamabad to obtain a VoIP connection for communication by the terrorists, Shahid Ghafoor, the captain of the boats Al-Hussaini and Al-Fauz and boat crew members Abdul Rehman, Muhammad Usman, Ateeq-ur-Rehman, Riaz Ahmad, Muhammad Mushtaq, Muhammad Naeem, Abdul Shakoor, Muhammad Sabir Salfi, Muhammad Usman and Shakil Ahmad.

Federal Investigation Agency chief Tariq Khosa, who was present at the news conference, said an interim chargesheet had been filed against the five suspects, Laskher-e-Tayiba operatives Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu al Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq and Shahid Jamil Riaz on April 28 and their trial had commenced.

After getting further information from India, investigators had prepared a second and updated chargesheet, Khosa said. Malik said the second chargesheet had been given to the prosecutor general.

"We hope that it will be filed in the court of law next week...We are pretty sure, based on the evidence which we have collected, that these culprits shall be punished," he added.

Later in the evening, acting High Commissioner Vohra was called to the Foreign Office and provided a dossier on Pakistan's probe into the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan also asked India to provide "further evidence required for legal and judicial process," said a statement from the Foreign Office. Diplomatic sources told PTI that Pakistan's dossier was in two parts, one providing an update on the investigation and another seeking some additional information on the Mumbai attack.

The dossier acknowledges that three of the attackers, including Ajmal Amir Kasab, were Pakistani nationals, the sources said. The new information sought by Islamabad was "not crucial" for the trial of the five suspects, the sources said.

This information relates to mobile SIM cards used by the attackers and details of VoIP calls and GPS systems, they added. The release from house arrest of LeT founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed also figured in Vohra's meeting with Malik, the sources said.

The Pakistani side said an appeal had been filed in the Supreme Court to challenge his release on the orders of the Lahore High Court.

The trial of the five suspects is being conducted by an anti-terror court in Rawalpindi. The trial has been held up due to the non-availability of a judge and Malik indicated proceedings would get underway during the next hearing set for July 18.

The trial would be transparent and based on the evidence gathered by Pakistani investigators, he said during the news conference.

Malik said Pakistani investigators had been able to link Lakhvi, a former close aide of LeT founder Saeed, to the Mumbai attacks.

"We have linked him with this matter, and we have not just (depended) on the statement of Kasab, we have connected (Lakhvi) with material evidence," he said.

The second chargesheet accuses Lakhvi of masterminding the attacks while Zarar Shah alias Abdul Wajid has been charged for being a facilitator and using his computer expertise to aid the attackers.

Hamad Amin Sadiq has been charged with facilitating the transfer of funds and providing hideouts for the attackers. Abu al Qama alias Mazhar Iqbal is named as a "handler and facilitator" in the chargesheet while Shahid Jamil Riaz has been charged with facilitating the transfer of funds.

Riaz, who was arrested on March 19, also served as a crew member of the boat Al Fauz that was used by the attackers, Malik said.

The FIR registered on February 15 by Pakistani authorities in connection with the Mumbai attacks had named nine persons, including Kasab. Five of the nine had been arrested while three others, Abu Hamza, Khafa and Muhammad Amjad Khan are still at large, Malik said.

Malik rejected India's contention that Pakistan was not serious about the probe into the Mumbai incident and asked New Delhi to end what he called a 'blame game'. He alleged there had been a delay on India's part in providing information sought by Pakistan, including Kasab's statement and DNA samples.

He said Pakistan sought Kasab's statement on February 12 and it was received from India on June 9. Malik also sought to link the probe into the Mumbai attacks with India's investigation into the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express train that killed 68 people, most of them Pakistanis.

He questioned why India had not provided Pakistan information about Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, who have been for the Mumbai attacks. "We have no doubt in our mind that assistance in India was provided to these non-state actors and culprits (who carried out the Mumbai attacks) and we think that...we may find some involvement (of Indian elements)," he said.

Malik, however, said Pakistani investigator felt there was no need to question Kasab as his statement made to authorities in India would be inadmissible in a Pakistani court.

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, while maintaining that the government would reply after examining Pakistan's dossier, termed as untrue Malik's allegation that India did not cooperate. She said India has given to Pakistan whatever material it had related to the Mumbai attacks.

Kaur said Pakistan had taken a long time to give a reaction and even then the response was not satisfactory. Noting that Pakistan has accepted that the attacks were planned in their territory, she hoped Islamabad would not create any more hurdles and would proceed fast on the issue.

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