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Kasab verdict raises Lakhvi's hopes

By M Zulqernain
May 03, 2010 16:53 IST
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A lawyer defending the seven Pakistanis, including Lashkar-e-Tayiba top commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks on Monday claimed that a verdict against Ajmal Kasab would result in the dropping of the main charge against his clients.

The defence lawyer said they were confident that bail would now be granted to their clients under Pakistani laws.

"Our case in the Supreme Court for Lakhvi's acquittal has become much stronger after the Indian court's verdict," said Khwaja Sultan, counsel for Lakhvi.

Pakistani terrorist Kasab, the lone surviving 26/11 gunman, was convicted by a special court in Mumbai for the audacious attacks in 2008 that had left 166 people dead.

Sabauddin Ahmed and Faheem Ansari, who were claimed to have prepared the maps of the terror targets and handed those over to the Lashkar for execution of their plans, were acquitted of all charges as the Mumbai court said the evidence produced by the prosecution could not be relied upon.

"The main charge against Lakhvi, said to be the mastermind of the Mumbai carnage, was that of providing training and maps to the people involved in the attacks. The Indian court acquitted both Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin, who were accused of providing maps to Kasab," Sultan said.

"This means the main charge against Lakhvi is no more," he told PTI.

Sultan said he would file an application seeking bail for Lakhvi in the anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of the seven suspects and was certain that bail would be granted after Monday's development in the Mumbai court.

He also contended that the possibility of the extradition of Kasab or Ansari had been ruled out as an accused, who is convicted or acquitted could not face retrial in Pakistan under the country's law.

"Under Section 403 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a person cannot be tried twice for the same offence if he or she is convicted or acquitted," Sultan said.

He said that under Article 13 of the constitution of Pakistan too a person could not be convicted twice for the same offence.

"Now Pakistan is not in a position to press India to extradite Kasab," he claimed.

The Pakistani anti-terrorism court recently issued arrest warrants for Kasab and Ansari.

The Pakistan government too has asked Interpol to issue red corner notices for the duo.

This case is expected to be taken up by the apex court in the coming days.

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M Zulqernain in Lahore
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