The hearing in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks trial in an anti-terrorism court against seven Pakistani suspects was today adjourned for the third time as the judge did not show up, citing security reasons.
The Anti Terrorism Judge Atiqur Rehman had refused to come during the last two hearings also as he was not satisfied with the security arrangement in the high-profile case. The court office adjourned the proceedings till April 2.
The judge had written to the government following a terror attack on a court in Islamabad, seeking adequate security measures for him and the lawyers attending the proceedings. The attack on the Islamabad court has raised concerns among the judicial community. But the government has not provided a fool-proof security, sources said.
Interestingly, the court hearing the Mumbai case is also based in the same premises though the hearings are mostly held at the Adiyala jail in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. "As long as the government does not provide security to the judge and lawyers, and safeguard the court premises, no proceedings of the Mumbai case will be held," a senior lawyer told PTI. "It seems the government is not taking serious interest in providing fool-proof security to all concerned," he added.
Chief Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar has already declared that he would not attend the proceedings of any high profile case till "fool-proof" security is provided to him.
Azhar, who took over as special prosecutor in the case last year, assumed the position after his predecessor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali was shot dead in Islamabad in May.
In Pakistan's high-profile criminal and terror-related cases, the job of prosecutors as well as of the defence counsels is perilous. LeT operations commander 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 that killed 166 people in November 2008.