A Pakistani anti-terrorism court hearing the 2008 Mumbai attack case today recorded the statement of a magistrate regarding the existence of a training centre of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) even as three other official witnesses failed to appear in court.
The court had re-issued summons to four official witnesses for today’s hearing after they did not appear previously on February 25, in the case involving seven suspects, including mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
“Only one witness, a local magistrate of Thatta, appeared in the Anti-Terrorism Court in Islamabad today and recorded his statement about the LeT’s training centre in Mirpur Sakro in Sindh province’s Thatta district. The other three official witnesses the court had summoned last Wednesday did not show up,” a court official said after the hearing.
He said the magistrate had recorded his statement to clear the ambiguity in the statement of a private witness, Mumtaz, who earlier had told the court about the existence of a training centre of the LeT at Mirpur Sakro, located near the sea.
The defence lawyers had cross-examined Mumtaz and contested his testimony.
“The magistrate’s testimony was important to clear the ambiguity of Mumtaz’s statement and bring forth further facts about the LeT training centre there,” the official said.
Judge Sohail Akbar adjourned the hearing till March 11.
54-year-old Lakhvi and six others - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum - have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.
The trial has been underway since in 2009. On December 18, 2014, the trial court granted bail to Lakhvi.
The government however detained him under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) which will expire in the second week of March.