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Pakistan tells India Mumbai evidence not valid

Published Aug 01, 2012 11:09am

In this picture taken on November 27, 2008, flames rush out of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, during an attack by militants. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad has told New Delhi that recently obtained evidence of the Mumbai attacks is inadmissible in court because Pakistanis were not allowed to cross-examine Indian officials, a Pakistani lawyer said Wednesday.

The Pakistani interior ministry wrote formally to the Indian government after a court rejected the evidence in July on the basis that the Pakistanis could not question Indian officials, prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar told AFP.

The letter is likely to aggravate New Delhi, which has branded Pakistan’s attempts at prosecuting seven alleged conspirators a “facade” and has insisted it has already handed over enough evidence to convict the accused.

Pakistan charged the seven men over the 2008 Mumbai attacks in 2009, but insists it needs to gather more evidence in India before proceeding further.

“Defence lawyers were not given an opportunity to cross examine Indian officials,” said Zulfiqar, who headed the judicial commission’s visit in March.

Pakistan wanted Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, who is the sole surviving gunman from the attacks and sentenced to death in India, to testify, but he was not included among the interviewees requested by the panel.

The Pakistani commission recorded the statements of Indian investigators, doctors who performed autopsies and the magistrate who took Kasab’s confession.

India blames Pakistani militants from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) of carrying out the attacks that killed 166 people, with support from “elements” in the Pakistani military.

Pakistan has admitted that the attacks were planned partly on its soil, but flatly denies any official involvement.