A Pakistani anti-terror court conducting the trial of seven suspects, including Lashkkar-e-Tayiba commander Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, for alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks adjourned the matter for a week on Saturday, even as defence lawyers boycotted the proceedings.
The lawyers boycotted the proceedings apparently to protest Judge Baqir Ali Rana's decision to formally charge the suspects in their absence at the last hearing on October 10,sources told PTI. There was no official word on the proceedings due to a gag order issued by the court. The judge scheduled the next hearing for October 24. Sources quoted the lawyers as saying that the indictment of the suspects was "one-sided" and an act of"injustice". The accused have also refused to sign the papers related to their indictment in the absence of their lawyers,the sources said.
Khwaja Sultan, one of the four defence lawyers, had last week raised objections about the manner in which the suspects were indicted. Sultan told reporters that none of the lawyers were present in court at the time of the indictment.
The last hearing was held at the time that a group of terrorists attacked the Pakistan Army's headquarters in Rawalpindi. The judge then reportedly said that since the situation outside the court was uncertain, those who wanted to leave the premises could do so. The lawyers left the court after completing their arguments and learnt later that their clients had been indicted, Sultan said.
At the last hearing, the defence lawyers contended there was no proof against their clients while the prosecution said it had enough evidence to prosecute the suspects, including five members of the LeT. The trial is being conducted at Adiala Jail due to security concerns and the media has been barred from attending the proceedings.
The seven suspects Lakhvi, communications expert Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz,
Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act. They have been accused of training and providing financial support, accommodation, equipment and communications gear to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November last year.