Pakistan, Islamabad: Pakistan government sets up a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe any possible Pakistani hand in the recent attack on Pathankot in India, attention is also focused on the Mumbai case, which was also preceded by a similar JIT. Indian government previously blamed Pakistan for 2008 mumbai attack. The Pakistan Peoples party (PPP) government at the time had constituted a JIT to probe any possible local links. On the basis of the JIT’s investigation report, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in February 2009 registered a case against Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind, and six other suspects for sponsoring, planning and abetting in the attacks.
Lakhvi was arrested by FIA the same month on the basis of the confessional statement of the lone surviving attacker, Ajmal Kasab, and was detained at Adiala Jail. Six years later in 2014, he was given bail by an anti-terrorism court judge. However, he is still incarcerated under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance. According to the charge-sheet issued on November 25, 2009, Lakhvi, a resident of Okara, was the alleged commander of the outlawed Lashkar-i-Taiba (LT), as well as the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks.
It was further alleged that Lakhvi received training from different centres and then trained other LeT militants, including those who carried out the attacks between November 26 and 28, 2008, killing 166 people. He was released on bail due to ‘weak evidence’, an FIR that invoked irrelevant sections, a ‘never-ending’ trial and hearsay evidence, say those who followed the trial closely.
The prosecution in the Mumbai attacks case suffered a setback in May 2014 when Mudassir Lakhvi, the headmaster of a government school in Okara where Ajmal Kasab studied, claimed that Kasab was still alive.
The testimony of Mudassir, who was produced as a prosecution witness by the FIA, exposed the poor coordination of the agency. He ended up strengthening the defence’s case; his claim that Kasab was alive allowed the defence to argue that Kasab’s confessional statement provided by India was doubtful and hearsay. The Pakistani side was not allowed to speak to Kasab directly and was only provided the confessional statement he gave to Indian authorities.