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'Many 26/11 accused not brought to book'

 

AGENCIES | Islamabad, May 24, 2012 14:05
Tags : Mumbai attacks | Pakistani courts | R.K. Singh |
 

'Many 26/11 accused not brought to book'India on Thursday voiced concern at the tardy progress in the prosecution of the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, saying many persons who are the 'actual accused' had not even been brought before the Pakistani courts.

"It seems that the progress in judicial proceedings against them (persons charged with involvement in the Mumbai incident) is very slow. Many persons who are the actual accused have not been brought before the courts," Home secretary R.K. Singh said in a brief interaction with the media before going into the talks with his Pakistani counterpart.

The crucial two-day talks between the Home and Interior Secretaries of India and Pakistan here are expected to focus on a relaxed visa regime and the prosecution of perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Indian authorities had linked several serving and retired Pakistani military officials to the Mumbai attacks on the basis of evidence provided by Pakistani-American LeT operative David Headley. However, Pakistan has dismissed these charges.

Islamabad has also not responded positively to New Delhi's request for voice samples of suspects who are already in the Pakistani custody.

The Indian delegation led by Singh and the Pakistani team headed by Interior Secretary Khwaja Siddique Akbar gathered at a hotel in the heart of Islamabad for the talks.

The last round of talks between the two secretaries was held in New Delhi in March last year. The inclusion of National Investigation Agency chief S.C. Sinha and other officials involved in the investigation of the Mumbai attacks in the Indian delegation was a clear indication of New Delhi's intention to push for the prosecution of the perpetrators of the terror strikes.

Seven Pakistani nationals, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, have been indicted for planning, financing and facilitating the attacks that killed 166 people in November 2008.

However, their trial by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi has stalled for over a year due to various technical reasons.

Despite the visit of a Pakistani judicial delegation to Mumbai in March to gather evidence and record the statements of key Indian officials, no headway has been made in the trial in recent weeks.

The Indian side is also expected to renew the demand for action against LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, for whom the US recently offered a 10 million-dollar bounty.

Islamabad has claimed that the evidence provided by New Delhi is not sufficient to take legal action against Saeed, who has led several massive rallies against the US and India in recent months.

Ahead of the talks, Indian officials said the two sides had given the finishing touches to a new relaxed visa regime that will for the first time include group tourist visas, visas on arrival for senior citizens and children and year-long multiple-entry visas for businessmen.

The two secretaries are expected to ink the pack by the conclusion of the talks on Friday, official sources said.

However, some reports in the Pakistani media claimed that the visa agreement is unlikely to be signed as the Pakistani Cabinet had not approved it at its last meeting on Wednesday.

The reports said Interior Minister Rehman Malik had not brought the agreement before the Cabinet for approval.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017