Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Saturday resumed hearing a case against suspected Islamist militants accused of involvement in last year’s attack on India’s business capital, Mumbai, that strained relations between the nuclear-armed rivals.
India wants forceful action by Pakistan against leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group it says was behind the 26-29 November attacks that killed 166 people, before resuming a peace process that was frozen in the aftermath of the violence.
Proceedings were initially launched against five men, but two more suspects have since been arrested, according to a state-run news agency report last week.
The case has been shrouded in secrecy as the court is holding the trial in camera at jail in Rawalpindi, the garrison town next to Islamabad, and lawyers were under instruction not to discuss the proceedings.
Shahbaz Rajput, a lawyer for one of the accused, told Reuters after Saturday’s hearing that they did not want the trial behind closed doors.
Express news reported the hearing had been adjourned until 19 September.
The five suspects arrested earlier and being tried at Adiala Jail are Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a commander of the LeT, and four others—Hammad Amin, Abdul Wajid alias Zarar Shah, Mazhar Iqbal alias Abu Qama and Shahid Jameel Riaz.
The two more recently arrested men are Jameel Ahmed and Younus Anjum.
India is pressing Pakistan to prosecute LeT founder, Hafiz Saeed, who was detained in Pakistan in December, after a UN Security Council resolution put him on a list of people and organisations supporting al Qaeda.
A court released him in June on grounds of insufficient evidence, prompting the Pakistani government to appeal at the Supreme Court for his re-arrest. The case is pending.
India says Saeed was the mastermind of the Mumbai attack and says it has provided sufficient evidence against him for Pakistan to prosecute.