26/11: 10 years on, the trial still drags in Pakistan, on year 11 nothing will change either
Mumbai, Nov 26: It has been ten years since Mumbai was attacked on that fatal night of November 26 2008.
Ten terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba entered India through the waters and launched one of the most brutal attacks, this country has ever seen. Pakistan obviously was not going to admit that the terrorists were from its soil. Fortunately for India, one of the ten terrorists was caught alive. Ajmal Kasab who was hanged at the Yerwada jail in Pune after being held guilty in his confession spilt the beans on Pakistan and how the army over there had trained them.
There was just meted out to the victims of the attack to a large extent after Kasab was hanged. But then these are the remote controlled small fries in the establishment. The big players are in Pakistan and they continue to roam around freely and also form political parties.
Till date the trial drags on with no result in sight.
India had in March 2017 sought the re-investigation of the case in Pakistan. Pakistan, however, rejected India's request, saying it was 'not possible as it (the trial) is at an advanced stage.
India also wanted Hafiz Saeed to be put to trial as he had masterminded the attack. Indian officials say that there is every attempt being made to delay the trial. The last India heard from Pakistan was when it wanted witnesses to be sent there. India termed the demand as an excuse to delay the trial further.
Pakistan was never serious about the trial. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi too is off the hook. In the run up to the trial a judge even recused himself from the case as he was too scared to hear the case. Pakistan has done little to try any of the accused in the case. In fact it has not even brought Saeed to trial. India insisted that all proof relating to the attack had been sent to Pakistan, but there was no concrete evidence to suggest that the country was serious about probing this case.
Mockery of justice:
The manner in which the case has been heard suggests that absolute mockery has been made of the justice system in Pakistan. In 10 years, 9 judges have changed. The anti-terrorism court (ATC) conducting the trial of seven Pakistani suspects charged with involvement in the attack had recently been changed taking the number to 9.
ATC Judge Sohail Akram who had been conducting the 26/11 case for the last two years was transferred to the Punjab judicial services in March. The Mumbai case is now being heard by Kausar Abbas Zaidi.
Besides Akram, the other judges who have been associated with the case that began in 2009 are Attiquer Rehman, Shahid Rafique, Malik Muhammad Akram Awan and Pervez Ali Shah.
Lakhvi gets away:
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi - the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind- was granted bail in December 2014. Zaidi was the judge in the case at that time.
Zaidi had cited "weak evidence, the registration of the FIR invoking irrelevant sections and hearsay evidence against Lakhvi" in his bail order.
There has been no hearing in the Mumbai case in the Pakistani ATC after Islamabad told New Delhi to send its 24 witnesses to record their statements if the case was to be decided soon.
Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum are facing charges of abetment to murder, attempted murder, planning and executing the attack that killed 166 people.
While Lakhvi has been living in an undisclosed location after getting bail, the other six suspects are lodged in Adiala and Rawalpindi.
On every anniversary, there has to be some filing about the status of the case in Pakistan. It is 10 years since the attack and the case is still the same. Will it be any different on the 11th anniversary? Not a chance.