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Trial of 26/11 suspects resumes in Pakistan

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
July 18, 2009 15:25 IST
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The trial of five Lashkar-e-Tayiba operatives, accused of involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, including its operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, resumed on Saturday at a Pakistani anti-terror court after a gap of nearly two months, but it was not clear whether the suspects had been formally indicted.

The trial resumed in the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi after appointment of a new judge, Baqir Ali Rana, for anti-terror court number 2 in the garrison city to hear the matter. Justice Rana adjourned the case till July 25 after today's hearing. It was not immediately clear if the accused Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu al Qama, Shahid Jamil Riaz and Hamad Amin Sadiq, had been formally indicted as the hearing was held in-camera.

Shahbaz Rajput, the counsel for the accused, said that today's proceedings were a 'pre-trial hearing'. A new dossier on the Mumbai terror attacks, handed over by Pakistan to India last week, states that the LeT was responsible for the assault. It also states that Lakhvi was the mastermind of the attacks.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said last week that the trial of the five LeT operatives could now start as Pakistani investigators had completed their probe.

There had been no movement in the case since May 23 as Judge Sakhi Muhammad Kahut, who was earlier hearing the case, was removed as part of judicial reforms.

The Federal Investigation Agency then approached Justice Muhammad Akram Awan, the judge in anti-terror court number 1, to take up the case and he repeatedly adjourned the matter. On May 5, the court had distributed copies of the chargesheet among the suspects.

Interior Minister Malik said investigators had prepared a second and updated chargesheet that was to be handed over to the prosecutor general. The trial of the five LeT operatives is being held inside the Adiala Jail due to security reasons.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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