Lahore: Pakistan has told India that a re- investigation of the Mumbai attack case was “not possible” as the trial was at an advanced stage and demanded “concrete” evidence against Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of 26/11 assault.
In reply to India’s demand to re-investigate the 2008 case and put on trial Jamaat-ud Dawah chief Saeed, “Pakistan said the case has already been at an advanced stage,” a senior interior ministry official, who is privy to the correspondence between the two countries over the matter, told sources on Thursday.
“All proceedings (in the case) have been finalised except recording of 24 Indian witnesses’ statements. At this stage, re-investigation is not possible. If India wants conclusion of the case, it should send its witnesses to Pakistan to record their statements,” the official said.
Saeed, who carries a bounty of USD 10 million on his head for his role in terror activities announced by the US, and his four aides are under house arrest in Lahore since January 30 under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism law.
The JUD chief was put under house arrest previously after the terror attack in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed by 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba men, but he was freed by a court in 2009 due to a lack of evidence against him.
On putting him on trial in that case, Pakistan has sought “concrete” evidence from India.
“India had only mentioned in its dossier that Ajmal Kasab (the lone gunman captured alive) had once met Hafiz Saeed.
Thousands of people meet him (Saeed). That doesn’t prove anything. Pakistan is willing to try Saeed in the 26/11 case provided India gives us solid evidence against him in this regard,” the official quoted Pakistan government’s response.
He said Pakistan has also made it clear to India that the Mumbai attack case may not reach its logical conclusion without India’s cooperation. “India must send its 24 witnesses to Pakistan to testify in the case for its conclusion,” he said.
The trial in the Mumbai attack case has been pending for the past seven years. India has urged Pakistan to complete the trial at the earliest. It has said that enough evidence has been shared with Pakistan to prosecute the accused.
But no proceeding in the case has been held on Wednesdays – the day fixed for hearing in the case – recently at the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi by an anti-terrorism court.
The trial court has already completed recording of the statements of all witnesses here and their cross examination and other relevant record has also been presented before it.
Another mastermind of the attack, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum face charges of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the attack.
Lakhvi was freed two years ago after he secured bail in the case. He lives at an undisclosed location since then. The other six suspects are in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.
Of the 10 LeT men who unleashed terror in Mumbai on November 26 in 2008, only Kasab was captured alive and later executed after a court found him guilty and handed down the death sentence.