Pak Judicial Panel to Arrive in India by January End
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The Pakistani Judicial Commission, which will cross examine four witnesses in 26/11 terror attack case, is expected to arrive here by the end of January after approval of the Bombay High Court.

The agreement on the visit of the second Pakistani judicial commission to Mumbai was finalised on December 25 in Islamabad following several rounds of discussions on complex technical and legal issues between a four-member visiting Indian delegation and Pakistani officials.

The Home Ministry will approach the Bombay High Court within a day or two to seek its approval for the visit of the Pakistani panel and cross examination of the four witnesses of the Mumbai terror attack case, official sources said.

The witnesses are Metropolitan Magistrate Rama Vijay Sawant-Waghule, who recorded the confessional statement of hanged terrorist Ajmal Kasab, Chief Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale and two doctors from the state-run Nair and JJ Hospitals who had conducted autopsies of nine terrorists.

The cross examination of the four witnesses is required to take the ongoing 26/11 case in a Rawalpindi court to its logical conclusion.

Seven terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, were charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai in November 2008.

Once the approval of the high court is received, New Delhi will convey the same to Islamabad which in turn will inform the Lahore High Court for intimation to the Rawalpindi court.

During its visit, the Indian team secured assurance from Pakistani authorities that the findings of the second judicial commission would not be summarily rejected by the anti- terrorism court that is conducting the trial of seven men.

The findings of the first Pakistani judicial commission that visited India in March 2012 were rejected by the anti-terrorism court as the panel's members were not allowed to cross-examine the Indian witnesses.

After the judicial panel visits India and cross examines the four witnesses, Islamabad will be expected to reciprocate by granting an Indian judicial commission access to Pakistani suspects when it visits the country at a later stage.

The trial of the Pakistani suspects has made little or no headway for months due to various technical and legal issues.

The Lahore High Court has barred the anti-terrorism court from using Kasab's confession while defence lawyers have contended that existing Pakistani laws do not allow witnesses in another country to depose via video conferencing.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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