Pak Interior Minister meets Indian envoy, discusses 26/11 probe and aftermath

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Islamabad, Sep.19 (ANI): Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday met with India;s High Commissioner to Pakistan, Sharad Sabharwal, and reportedly discussed the progress being made in the 26/11 probe..

Sources also said that there is a likelihood of Pakistan framing charges against the seven accused.

Malik is due to address a press conference later in the evening, during which he is expected to reveal the content of his discussions with Sabharwal.

Earlier, an anti-terrorism court here, which is conducting the trial of seven suspects linked with the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, on Saturday adjourned the hearing of the case till September 26.

No other details of the proceedings were available due to a strict media blackout imposed by Judge Baqir Ali Rana, who is conducting the trial inside the high-security Adiala Jail in the garrison city of Rawalpindi due to security reasons.

The hearings are being conducted in-camera and Rana has issued a gag order, citing national security concerns as well as the security of the accused and witnesses.

It is still not clear whether the seven accused have been formally indicted, though authorities have prepared two chargesheets against them.

Lawyers representing the accused said they had been directed by the judge to strictly adhere to the gag order and not to discuss the proceedings with the media.

Five LeT operatives Lakhvi, communications expert Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq and Shahid Jamil Riaz being tried by the anti-terrorism court.

They have been accused of providing training, financial support, accommodation, equipment and communications gear to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai last year.

No details are available of the charges against the two other suspects, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum.

Meanwhile, a lawyer representing Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has said the two cases filed against his client are very weak and not sustainable in any court of law.

Saeed's lawyer A K Dongar said the charges against his client were ridiculous. Dogar was referring to the two cases filed by Faisalabad Police - one relating to his sermon at the Royalton Hotel in Faisalabad's Canal Road on August 27, and second for a speech at an Iftar dinner at Peoples Colony, Jaranwala Road Faisalabad on August 26, where he urged people to launch a holy war against those who've suppressed their rights.

"I have gone through both the FIRs against Saeed thoroughly. The charges against my client are very weak. He has expressed his views like any other Pakistani," claimed Dogar.

According to the TIMES NOW television channel, two cases were registered against Saeed and one against his close aide Abu Jandal at police stations in Faisalabad, some 100 kilometers from Lahore.

On Friday, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Islamabad must question Saeed, notwithstanding the fact that two cases had been filed against him that were not related to that tragic event.

Chidambaram said the authorities should avail the opportunity of questioning Saeed on the 26/11 episode also, once he is arrested.

"...I am told that it's (FIRs agaisnt Hafiz Saeed) not related to the 26/11 attacks. Even if they apprehending him on some other charge, and use the opportunity to question him on his involvement in 26/11 attacks, that would be a significant progress in the case. I hope that they question him on 26/22 too," Chidambaram told TIMES NOW after his US visit.

Insisting that Saeed should be tried for his involvement in the 26/11 terror attack, Chidambaram said: "There is no trial there. The trial has not started there. In fact, my complaint has been even before I visited the US, that we don't have a date set for the trial and to best of the my knowledge, the first witness has not been examined.

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna also asserted that the main agenda of his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in New York would be to pressurise Islamabad in taking action against perpetrators of last year's Mumbai terror attack.

Krishna said this while speaking to media persons at Turkmen capital Ashgabat during his visit to that country on Friday.

"I cannot spell out what exactly I can expect from such meetings. But this much I can assure that my attempt would be to impress upon the Pakistan foreign minister the desirability of taking action against the brains behind the Mumbai attack," said Krishna.

The Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan and diplomats of the two nuclear-armed rivals are scheduled to meet in New York next week on the sidelines of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly. (ANI)

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