IND writes to Pak, suggests ways to expedite 26/11 trial

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INDIA is yet to receive a response from Pakistan to a letter from Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to his Pakistani counterpart, which was handed over last week, suggesting ways to expedite the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks case trial, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Noting that the trial was “happening at a snail’s pace”, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the letter, written on September 6, was hand-delivered by the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad on September 9.

“In order to bring the guilty to book, our Foreign Secretary has recently written to his counterpart in Pakistan suggesting ways in which the trial could be expedited through cooperation through the legal channel,” said Swarup, adding that the step was prompted by the delay in bringing those responsible to book in the attack that killed 166 people.

“As you know, the entire attack was planned from Pakistan, was perpetrated by Pakistani nationals, all the evidence is in Pakistan, but eight years have passed and trial is happening at a snail’s pace,” he said.

Swarup said that the government wants to bring the Mumbai case trial to an “expeditious conclusion”. “We are prepared to offer suggestions on how it can be done through the proper legal channels,” he said.

Pakistan had earlier said that a former Lashkar operative it had arrested from a hideout in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province for his suspected involvement in the attack was acquitted on September 9.

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency said that “no allegation has been proved against” Sufayan Zafar, who was accused of providing Rs 14,800 for the attack and providing Rs 3.98 crore to co-accused Shahid Jameel Riaz. Zafar was among 21 absconding suspects wanted in the 26/11 case.

Six other suspects — Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younus Anjum — have been in a Rawalpindi jail since 2009 on charges of abetment to murder, attempted murder, and planning and executing the terror attack.

The prime suspect and alleged mastermind, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, is said to be in hiding after getting bail more than a year ago. Nine of the ten 26/11 attackers were killed and the only survivor Ajmal Kasab was hanged in 2012.

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