Mumbai terror attack trial resumes in Pakistan

Islamabad, May 16  An Anti-Terrorism Court here resumed hearing of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case on Wednesday, summoning the last two Pakistani prosecution witnesses and asking the government about the availability of 27 Indian witnesses in the next hearing "so as to conclude the trial expeditiously".District Police Officer Dera Ghazi Khan Sohail Habib Tajik recorded his statement before Judge Shahrukh Arjumand, the Dawn reported.The statements of two more Pakistani witnesses, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia and another official, Zahid Akhter, needed to be recorded.The prosecutors, however, sought adjournment due to engagements at the accountability courts. The court asked Zahid Akhter to appear in the next hearing while Wajid Zia will be summoned for prosecution evidence on May 23.The prosecution completed the testimonies of 68 Pakistani witnesses last year.The court "observed with concern that since January 2016 upon the request of the prosecution, government functionaries sitting at the helm of affairs were directed repeatedly for producing 27 Indian nationals so as to give evidence in instant case, but till date no serious and final response has been given by the government".In January 2016, the government had contacted New Delhi asking it to send the witnesses to Pakistan to testify against the Mumbai attack suspects. A total of 166 Indians and foreigners were killed in the bloodbath.Lakhvi and the other suspects - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younus Anjum - are being tried by the ATC since 2009.Earlier, the Lahore High Court released prime suspect Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi on post-arrest bail in 2015 after he furnished Rs 2 million in surety bonds. Lakhvi's request for exemption from appearing in the court was also accepted on Wednesday.