July 19, 2012
According to reports from Pakistan, ChaudhuryHabib-ur-Rehman, who constitutes the one-man Anti-Terrorism Special Court trying seven members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) for conspiring to carry out the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, has accepted the objections of the LET conspirators to the admissibility of the report submitted by a Pakistani commission that had visited Mumbai in March to record the statements of some Indian witnesses.
2.The lawyers of the LET conspirators had objected to the admissibility of the commission's report on the ground that the Government of India did not allow the Pakistani lawyers assisting the commission to cross-examine the Indian witnesses.
3.The Judge has accepted the contention of the LET lawyers and declared the report of the commission as inadmissible in the pending case.However, he has kept open the possibility of admitting in evidence the report of any new commission that might be sent to Mumbai by the Pakistan Government if its lawyers are allowed to cross-examine the witnesses by the Government of India.
4.India's efforts to seek the co-operation of the State of Pakistan for the effective prosecution of the Pakistan-based conspirators including Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed , the head of the LET, have thus reached a dead-end. It is futile to hope for any forward movement in this direction.
5.While India should continue to keep the spotlight on Pakistan to demonstrate to the international community its machinations to avoid action against the conspirators, it should at the same time unilaterally initiate other options against Sayeed.
6.It should have Sayeed declared as a proclaimed and absconding offender in the case and offer a huge reward for anyone who could help in his capture and prosecution before the Mumbai court. The reward should be made applicable to individuals as well as organisations, so that organisations of Baloch freedom-fighters, Sindhi nationalists and Pakistani Shia fighters who are interested in availing of the reward could do so by helping in the capture of Sayeed and his being brought to India for trial.
7. Simultaneously, a special cell should be created in the R&AW for bringing Sayeed to justice in India. (20-7-12)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )
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