ISLAMABAD: A special Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Islamabad Thursday directed interior ministry and director general (DG) National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) to take measures for sending a judicial commission to India to cross-examine the witnesses of Mumbai attack case.
ATC Judge Atiqur Rehman also accepted a request for early hearing of the case and fixed August 20 as the next date.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) special prosecutor Azhar Chaudhry presented attested copies of related documents received from India and decision of Mumbai High Court in this connection. He informed the court that chief justice of Mumbai High Court had given permission to cross-examine witnesses of the case. FIA prosecutor also requested the court to issue directions to government for ensuring protection of the members of judicial commission keeping in view the current tense situation between Pakistan and India. On this juncture, the court issued afore-mentioned directions and adjourned the proceedings till August 20.
Meanwhile, the court also directed interior ministry and inspector general (IG) Islamabad police to provide security to FIA prosecutor Azhar Chaudhry. It is pertinent to mention here that the Indian government had given written consent to Pakistani authorities associated with the case to visit India and cross-examine witnesses. The Indian government had also sent a dossier of related documents to the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the ministry of interior. –Shahid rao
Earlier, an eight-member panel from Pakistan, in compliance with the order of Anti-Terrorism Court Rawalpindi had visited Mumbai in April 2012 to cross-examine four key witnesses of the case but was denied the permission to do so.
After their return, panel members, particularly Khawaja Haris, counsel of alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi raised an objection against the Mumbai court proceedings saying the orders of the anti-terrorism court were not complied with in letter and spirit.
The anti-terrorism court on July 17, 2012 had pronounced that all the findings of a judicial commission that visited India were illegal and could not be made part of the evidence.
A three-member commission from India, comprising additional secretary and chief prosecutor general of the Mumbai attack case, during its visit to Pakistan in December, 2012 had consented that the Pakistani panel would be allowed to cross-examine witnesses.