U-turn a day later? Pakistan refuses to seek 26/11 accused Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi's voice sample

Pakistan government will not file a fresh petition in an anti-terrorism court requesting for obtaining voice sample of LeT operations commander Zaki-ur- Rehman Lakhvi in the Mumbai terror attack case, prosecution team's chief Chaudhry Azhar said on Sunday.

His remarks comes just two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in a meeting in Ufa, Russia agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial (in Pakistan), including additional information like providing voice samples.

"The issue of obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi has been over. We had filed an application in the trial court in 2011, seeking voice sample of Lakhvi but the judge (Malik Akram Awan) had dismissed it on the ground that there is no such law exists that allows obtaining of voice sample of an accused," Chaudhry told PTI on Sunday.

 U-turn a day later? Pakistan refuses to seek 26/11 accused Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvis voice sample

Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. AFP.

"The government will not file a fresh petition in the trial court requesting for obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi," he added.

The declaration from the prosecution may man that Pakistan may not go an 'extra mile' in bringing the accused of the Mumbai attack to justice despite Prime Minister Sharif's commitment in Ufa to his Indian counterpart in this regard.

"We have told India in writing that there was no law in Pakistan that allows obtaining a voice sample of an accused. Even there is no such law in India and the USA," Chaudhry said, adding such a law can be introduced only through the Pakistani parliament.

Lakhvi’s lawyer also said that his client won't provide India his voice samples, according to a report in Hindustan Times.

“My client has refused in the past and will refuse again. According to our law, the accused have to give their consent," the report quoted Lakhvi's lawyer, Raja Rizwan Abbasi, as saying.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has also not shown government's intention to take this matter to the parliament.

"Pakistan has included the Mumbai issue in the joint statement because we wanted India to provide us 'solid evidence' against the accused for their prosecution," Rashid said, expressing his government’s strong resolve against terrorism.

"Pakistan is prosecuting those allegedly involved in Mumbai attack case. But we need evidence. After the joint statement of Pakistani and Indian prime ministers the onus of
providing evidence is on India," he said when asked whether the government would bring a legislation regarding recording of voice sample.

The minister said India had not yet provided Pakistan "solid evidence".

Lakhvi's counsel Abbasi said the government was knocked off over the voice sample issue in 2011. "Unless it goes for a legislation in the parliament in this regard the voice sample of his client has become a history," he said.

Lakhvi has been out on bail since 10 April. He and six other accused - Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum - have been in Adiala Jail for nearly six years in connection with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead.

India has been upset over the almost non-existent trial in the 2008 Mumbai attack case, with even the mastermind Lakhvi being released by the court as the Pakistan government failed to furnish the required evidence.

Talking at the sidelines of SCO summit in Ufa, Prime Minister Modi had accepted an invitation his counterpart Nawaz Sharif's invitation to attend the Saarc summit in Pakistan in 2016.

The meeting which took place Friday morning lasted more than the scheduled 45 minutes.

The two Prime Ministers had agreed to expedite the Lakhvi trial in the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai case that is being held in Pakistan. The nations had agreed to exchange voice samples that are relevant to the case. The agreement came after India was blocked from getting a UN body to censure Pakistan over the release of prime accused in the case Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.

The two Prime Ministers had condemned terrorism in all forms and had said that they were prepared to discuss all outstanding issues.

The meeting between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Ufa was the first meeting between the two leaders since talks between the two countries broke down.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jul 13, 2015 11:53:02 IST