A Pakistani anti-terrorism court holding the trial of the seven Mumbai attack accused,
including mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, today summoned seven witnesses for the next hearing after the case record was finally submitted to it.
The Islamabad High Court finally sent back the record of the Mumbai attack case to the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), also in Islamabad, after over four months when it was told that thecase had moved "an inch" since the record was lying with the IHC.
The Mumbai case record was transferred to the IHC in the first week of January when the federal government challenged the bail to Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi. Virtually no proceedings of the case had been held since the trial court granted bail to him on December 14, 2014.
"The ATC Islamabad which held the hearing at Adiala Jail Rawalpindi today summoned seven official and private witnesses for the next hearing on May 27 to record their statements. The trial court summoned the witnesses only after the case record was today retrieved from the IHC and presented before the
ATC," a senior court official said after the hearing.
The official expressed the hope that after retrieving the case record from the IHC, the trial court hearings would not be marred by any another issue. During today's hearing, the Inspector General Police, Islamabad also submitted a reply to the court regarding the alleged security threats to Lakhvi. "The argument on Lakhvi's plea to exempt him from attending the hearings will also be held during the next hearing," the official said.
Lakhvi has claimed that he is facing serious threats to his life therefore he should be exempted from personal appearance in court during the case hearings. The LeT operations commander was released from Adiala Jail over a month ago after the Lahore High Court suspended his detention under a security act.
Subsequently, the Islamabad High Court had given a two-month deadline (by mid-June) to the trial court to
conclude the case while disposing off the government's plea challenging the bail to Lakhvi.
Fifty-five-year-old Lakhvi is living at an undisclosed location since his release. Lakhvi and six other accused - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum - have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that killed 166 people.