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Rediff.com  » News » Decision on Lakhvi's plea for trial shift on Friday

Decision on Lakhvi's plea for trial shift on Friday

January 21, 2010 12:57 IST

A Pakistani court has reserved till Friday its decision on an application by Lashkar-e-Tayiba operation commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, accused of planning and helping execute the Mumbai terror attacks, for the transfer of his trial from Rawalpindi to Lahore.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif, who is hearing the application, reserved his order after hearing arguments from Lakhvi's counsel Khwaja Sultan and government lawyers.

In his application filed last week, Lakhvi had claimed that there was a purported threat to his life as a number of agents of the Indian spy agency Research and Analyses Wing were present in Rawalpindi.

He asked for his trial to be transferred from an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi to Lahore.

During Thursday's hearing, the Deputy Attorney General of the federal government and the Advocate General of Punjab province told the court that authorities are providing full security to Lakhvi and his counsel.

Lakhvi's counsel Khwaja Sultan said his client was not satisfied with the judge of the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi who was conducting the trial but sources said the High Court brushed aside his remarks.

The high court had last week issued notices to the federal Interior Secretary, Attorney General and Advocate General of Punjab to respond to Lakhvi's application. Lakhvi was indicted with six others Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum for planning and helping execute the assault on India's financial hub in November 2008, which claimed 166 lives.

Their in-camera trial is being conducted within the Adiala Jail for security reasons. The anti-terrorism court was to begin recording evidence against them at the last hearing on January 16, but was unable to do so because of the application filed by Lakhvi in the Lahore High Court.

Lakhvi has filed another application in the Rawalpindi-based bench of the Lahore High Court challenging the anti-terrorism court's dismissal of his plea for acquittal. Observers believe Lakhvi's applications are aimed at delaying his trial, which has entered a crucial phase.
M Zulqernain in Lahore
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