An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan trying the seven accused in the 2008 Mumbai attacks case has adjourned the hearing till June 25 after prosecution lawyers failed to turn up. In the last hearing on June 11, two witnesses had recorded their statements.
Earlier too, the prosecution lawyers had not appeared at the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi for May 28 and June 4 hearings, citing security concerns. The prosecution lawyers led by Chaudhry Azhar in their May 21 application had accused Jammat-ud-Dawah activists of threating them and the witnesses for pursuing the case. The court has not yet taken up this application.
Sources told PTI that none of the prosecution lawyers and the witnesses appeared in the court in yesterday's hearing. The court was not informed about the reason of their absence. However, the sources said "security concerns" could be the only reason for not showing up in the court. The court adjourned the hearing till June 25.
The court in the last hearing had asked the prosecution to produce more witnesses. In the last hearing, the head of the Hindi Department of NAMAL University, Punjab province, who translated Ajmal Kasab's statement into English submitted it to the ATC Rawalpindi. Private witness Hamza Bin Tariq also appeared in the court and recorded his statement.
Hamza was among the three other witnesses - Muhammad Ali, Mohammad Saifullah Khan and Umer Draz Khan – who in their last year's testimonies had identified 10 men including Amjad Khan and Atiqur Rehman, who were allegedly involved in planning and executing the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
Hamza told the court that he had not sold the boats directly to the accused. Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Anjum have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks.
All the accused are lodged in Adiala prison Rawalpindi, some 300 kilometers from Lahore.