Pak court again adjourns Mumbai attack trial

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Islamabad, Mar 25:  For the third consecutive time, a Pakistani court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing in the trial of seven men accused in the Mumbai attack case till April 1, as the record of the case is with the Islamabad High Court in connection with the government's plea against granting bail to the attack's mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.

"The proceedings of the case could not be held today after the ATC Islamabad was informed that the record of the case had been still with the IHC in connection with the government's plea against Lakhvi's bail," prosecution chief Chaudhry Azhar told PTI after the hearing.

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"We had requested the court to ensure provision of the record to the trial court in next Wednesday's hearing," he said.

Over the past two months, at least five hearings have been adjourned without proceedings because of this reason. The trial has been underway in Pakistan since 2009.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will take up government's plea for cancellation of bail to LeT operations commander Lakhvi tomorrow.

The Punjab government on March 14 detained Lakhvi for 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order, before he could be released by Adiala Jail Rawalpindi authorities on the IHC's order.

On December 18, the trial court granted bail to Lakhvi but he was detained the very next day under the MPO.

However, the IHC suspended Lakhvi's detention on "weak legal ground."

Just before he was to be released from Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail, Lakhvi was arrested on charges of kidnapping an Afghan national in 2009.

He has got bail in the kidnapping case. Later, the government challenged the HC's order in the Supreme Court, which suspended its decision.

The 55-year-old again challenged his detention and got relief from the court on March 13.

Lakhvi, believed to be a close relative of LeT founder and Jamat-Ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, and six others -– Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum –- were charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November 2008 that left 166 people dead.

Lakhvi is currently in detention in Pakistan under a public security order.

He was detained early this month before he could be released from jail following a court directive, which evoked a strong protest from India.

PTI

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