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Pakistan seeks India's cooperation for Mumbai attacks trial

ISLAMABAD, Sept 4, AFP Islamabad on Saturday urged India to help find a way to progress the trial in Pakistan of seven suspects linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which has strained ties between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The suspects include the alleged mastermind of the attack on India's financial capital, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Zarar Shah.

Delhi and Washington have both blamed the Mumbai attack on the LeT faction for the attacks, which left 166 people dead.

The trial has almost stalled as New Delhi has refused to give the court access to lone surviving attacker Mohammad Ajmal Kasab -- who is on death row in India -- and Indian national Fahim Ansari, a conspirator. An anti-terrorism court in the garrison town of Rawalpindi indicted the seven men on the eve of the first anniversary of the attack, which ended a fragile peace process with Pakistan.

But Pakistani officials have since implied that the trials cannot proceed unless Kasab, who was sentenced to death in Mumbai in May, is handed over as a witness.

Kasab, one of 10 gunmen who went on the three-day rampage through Mumbai, was convicted on March 31 on charges including murder and waging war on India.

Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik told reporters after meeting the Indian high commissioner and speaking to Indian Home Minister P.

Chidambaram on the telephone: "The trial is stuck and actually we do not want to give an impression to the international community that perhaps it has been delayed. "We proposed to India while talking to Mr Chidambaram that how about that we move our case to our trial court and request them to appoint a commission of relevant officials to record the statements of the witnesses," he said.

"And this has been happening in the past and so using that facility we request to the court and if they give permission, will they (India) be able to accept," Malik said. Chidambaram replied that "they will be considering it", Malik said.

 

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