Islamabad, Jun 15 (PTI): In a move with significant ramifications, the trial of seven Pakistanis, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks was today shifted from a court in Rawalpindi to a new anti-terrorism court in the capital here.
Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman of the Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court accepted an application from the prosecution to move the case to the anti-terrorism court of Judge Kausar Abbas Zaidi in Islamabad, sources said.
Judge Zaidi’s court was established recently to hear a case filed against former President Pervez Musharraf under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Till then, Islamabad had no anti-terrorism court and all terrorism cases were heard by courts in Rawalpindi.
Legal experts said fresh proceedings would have to begin in the court in Islamabad and the judge would take some time to acquaint himself with the details of the case. There were no other proceedings during todays hearing conducted by Judge Rehman behind closed doors.
The government is yet to appoint a new chief prosecutor to replace Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali of the Federal Investigation Agency, who was assassinated by militants in Islamabad on May 3. Besides the Mumbai attacks, Ali was also handling the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. Islamabad Police have arrested a militant with links to the Taliban for alleged involvement in Ali’s murder.
The Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court has been handling the Mumbai attacks case since 2009 though the judge has been changed five times. Ali’s killing also caused a setback for the case. The seven Pakistani suspects have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai in November 2008.