ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorism Court Islamabad approved on Thursday the visit of a Pakistani panel comprising defence counsel and prosecutors to India on Sept 21 for cross-examination of four witnesses in the Mumbai attack case.
Details of the Mumbai attack commission have been finalised at the government level, but under the Criminal Procedure Code the visit requires an approval by the trial court where proceedings of the case are being held.
The panel will join the proceedings of the Mumbai attack commission headed by the additional chief magistrate of Mumbai. It will cross-examine R.V. Sawant Waghule, who had recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab; chief investigation officer Ramesh Mahale and Ganesh Dhunraj and Chintaman Mohite, the two doctors who carried out post-mortem on bodies of the terrorists killed during the attack.
They were prosecution witnesses against Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the November 2008 attack. Their statements are also needed by the Pakistani prosecutors against seven Pakistani suspects who are being tried by the ATC Islamabad for allegedly facilitating Ajmal Kasab and other terrorists.
Earlier, the panel was scheduled to visit India on Sept 7. But the visit was cancelled because of a delay in issuance of passport to chief prosecutor Chaudhry Mohammad Azhar.
Other members of the panel are Syed Husnain Abuzar Pirzada, Khawaja Haris Ahmed, Riaz Akram Cheema, Khizer Hayat, Raja Ehsanullah Satti, FIA deputy director Faqir Mohammad and court official Abdul Hameed.
On Thursday, the ATC judge took up an application of defence counsel Riaz Cheema who said that the interior ministry had not taken defence lawyers on board while finalising the schedule for visit to India.
But FIA prosecutor Pirzada informed the court that their complaints had been addressed and requested it to allow the panel to join proceedings of the Mumbai commission.