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India's refusal to allow Pak lawyers to cross-examine 26/11 attack witnesses challenged

Islamabad, Mon, 30 Apr 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Apr 30(ANI): The alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi has challenged India's refusal to allow Pakistani lawyers to cross-examine Indian witnesses in a Pakistan court.

Lakhvi's lawyer argued that under international laws they have the right to question witnesses in the case, including Mumbai's Chief Investigation Officer Ramash Mahale; Magistrate Rama Vijay Sawanth, who recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab (the only attacker captured alive by the police); Dr Shaliesh Mohiti and Dr Ganash Dhondiraj, who conducted post-mortems of the 166 people killed in the attack.

He accused Indian Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam of preventing the defence lawyers from questioning these witnesses.

"In the eye of law, the proceedings and recording of the statements of the Indian prosecution witnesses without examination by Pakistani lawyers had no legal bearing in Pakistan's trial court," The Express Tribune quoted Lakhvi's lawyer, as saying.

An eight-member commission comprising defence lawyers, prosecutors and a court official was allowed to travel to India on March 15 to gather evidence for the prosecution of seven suspects in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

He said that both the Indian and Pakistani prosecution had not submitted any such agreement, and added that if such an agreement existed, it holds no legal value, as the defence counsel cannot be deprived of the right to cross-examination.

Anti Terrorism Court Special Judge Shahid Rafique adjourned the case for hearing till May 5. (ANI)

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