Ajmal Kasab’s trial begins in India

MUMBAI: The trial of the only surviving gunman in the bloody Mumbai siege began Friday with the prosecutor calling the attacks ‘a criminal conspiracy hatched in Pakistan to attack India,’ AP reported.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said at least one Pakistani military officer was involved in the attack and its sophistication suggested the involvement of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency.

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani, is charged with 12 criminal counts, including murder and waging war against India. Prosecutors say Kasab and nine other gunmen who were killed during the siege are responsible for the deaths of 166 people and injuring 304 more.

‘There was a criminal conspiracy hatched in Pakistan to attack India,’ Nikam said, with the ‘ultimate target of capturing Jammu and Kashmir, which is part and parcel of India.’

The Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistani but claimed by both, has long been at the center of the bitterness between the two South Asian rivals.

The prosecutor vowed to get to ‘the root of terror’ and said the identity of all those involved would be revealed through the ongoing investigation.

Nikam alleged the November attacks were masterminded by the Muslim militant group Lashkar-i-Taiba with the help of at least one Pakistani military officer. He said the plot was made possible by a ‘terrorist culture’ that had taken root in Pakistan.

Lashkar-i-Taiba is widely believed to have been created by Pakistani intelligence agencies in the 1980s to fight Indian rule in Kashmir.

Pakistani officials have acknowledged that the November attacks were partly plotted on their soil and announced criminal proceedings against eight suspects. They have also acknowledged that Kasab is Pakistani but have repeatedly denied their intelligence agencies were involved in the attack.

The prosecution began after the judge dismissed a motion from Kasab’s defense lawyer, Abbas Kazmi, to move the trial to a juvenile court. Kazmi, who had been appointed Kasab’s attorney just the day before, said his client was 16 years old — and legally a minor — at the time of the attack.

Kasab told Indian investigators he was born in September 1987, which would have made him 21 when the siege took place.

Kasab’s two co-defendants, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, are Indian nationals charged with helping plot the attacks. Their lawyer maintains that they are innocent.

Meanwhile, Kasab’s defence counsel said his client wished to retract his confession, claiming it was obtained under duress.

‘On his instruction, a retraction application has been filed, retracting the so-called alleged confession,’ said Abbas Kazmi.

‘He’s going to plead not guilty,’ he added.

The lawyer told reporters that Kasab claimed the confession, made to a local magistrate while he was in police custody, was ‘extracted out of coercion and force and it was not a voluntary confession.’ He quoted Kasab as claiming he had been ‘physically tortured.’

Court officials say they hope the case will be finished in six months to a year — which would be extremely fast by the standards of major Indian trials.

The trial for India’s deadliest terror attack, the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed 257 people, took 14 years to complete.


Kasab unaware of serious charges, says new lawyer

NEW DELHI, April 16: Ajmal Kasab, the surviving gunman arrested for the Mumbai terror attacks, laughs and giggles in the court trying him for mass murder, his new defence lawyer Abbas Kazmi said on Thursday, adding that his client had not realised the enormity of the case against him.

Press Trust of India said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told the heavily guarded special court in Mumbai’s Arthur Jail that Kasab, the prime accused in the case, would be charged with murder of 166 persons in the attack unleashed by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e- Taiba group.

Even as the court said it would forward the request of Kasab to Pakistan through diplomatic channels, it has appointed Mr Kazimi to defend him as per Indian law. Mr Kazmi is a private lawyer, not belonging to the legal aid panel. He is a well-known name in the legal circle and has already been introduced to the accused. He is a member of the Sessions Bar Council and is the amicus curie in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

Mr Kazmi said Kasab did not understand the gravity of the Mumbai terror attacks case or the charges against him. He was permitted to meet his new client at the jail premises after the days’ proceedings were completed in the Special Court set up there.

“It is clear from the way he was laughing and giggling in the Special Court on Wednesday and Thursday that Kasab has no inkling of the seriousness of the case against him. I tried explaining it to him, including the extent of the punishment he faces, but he failed to see the gravity of the situation,” Mr Kazmi was quoted by CNN-IBN news channel as saying.

He said he tried to impress upon Kasab that he could face a life term or a death sentence, but “he does not seem to realise it”.

Mr Kazmi was provided police security after he came out of the Special Court. He had also appeared on behalf of over two dozen accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb explosions case, and some of the accused in the murder case of music baron Gulshan Kumar.

Reports said special judge M. L. Tahiliyani informed Kasab that the appointment of legal aid panel lawyer Anjali Waghmare had been revoked. Kasab reportedly said he had written to the Pakistani authorities seeking a lawyer. Kasab had sought a special court’s permission to approach Pakistani authorities to appoint a lawyer from there to defend him. “Ek aur try kar sakte hain (We can give it one more try),” Kasab was said to have asked, when informed by the court that it was unlikely that a Pakistani lawyer would be appointed for him by the Pakistan government.

Court orders providing lawyer for Mumbai attacks accuse Qasab

MUMBAI: The court has ordered for providing a defence lawyer for Mumbai attacks accuse Ajmal Qasab.

Indian TV claimed that Ajmal Qasab during the hearing admitted that he comes from Pakistan area Faridkot.

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman, also known as Kasab, appeared before special judge M.L. Tahiliyani via a video link from a Mumbai jail where he is being housed in a high-security cell.

The suspect captured by police during the Mumbai attacks that killed 165 people told a court Monday that he needed a lawyer to defend him, which the court approving of ordered for the provision of a defence lawyer for him.

Earlier, Indian government lawyer had requested the court for adjournment of hearing for one month for making security arrangements at Aarthar Road Jail.

Indian media said that defunct Lashkar-e-Taiba suspected activists Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Muhammad have also been named in this case, who allegedly helped Ajmal Qasab in this terrorist incident.

India hands over replies to Pakistan

NEW DELHI: In a major development, India has handed over its reply to the 30 questions raised by Pakistan after studying the 26/11 dossier. The Indian dossier runs in 401 pages.The reply includes CDs and voice intercepts of terrorists.

Speaking on the issue, Home Minister P Chidambaram said, “All of Pakistan’s 30 questions related to Mumbai terror attacks have been answered. These replies have been backed with evidence like forensic reports.”

Chidambaram also said that if Pakistan is serious, these answers provide them solid base to prosecute.

The Home Minister handed over the replies to Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee who in turn handed it over to Pakistan.

Indian police file charges against Ajmal Kasab

MUMBAI: Indian police laid murder charges Wednesday against the sole surviving suspect gunman Ajmal Kasab accused in the devastating Mumbai attacks that left 165 people dead.

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman — also known as Kasab — “was charged with murder, attempt to murder, damage to public property, unlawful activities and under sections of terrorists acts,” said chief public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

Iman, who was also charged with “waging war against India,” was not produced in court due to security reasons, officials said.

One hundred and sixty-five people were killed and 308 injured when 10 gunmen attacked a string of targets including luxury hotels, a crowded railway station, a cafe and a Jewish centre.

Nine attackers were killed, leaving only one to face an 11,000-page charge sheet detailing a string of charges including murder, terrorism, conspiracy, weapons and immigration violations.

President meets PM, discusses new NSA appointment

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari held a separate meeting with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani here on Thursday.

The meeting between President Zardari and Premier Gilani lasted for an hour.

According to sources, earlier, President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani held a joint meeting with US Ambassador to Islamabad Anne W. Patterson in which Pak-India tension, Ajmal Kasab and issues relating to the national security adviser came under discussion.

source : jang.com.pk


Pakistan confirms Ajmal Kasab is Pakistani

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign office Wednesday confirmed that Ajmal Kasab who is in Indian custody for his alleged involvement in Mumbai attacks, is a Pakistan national.

Earlier, Federal Information minister said an investigation has revealed that the lone surviving Mumbai gunman is a Pakistani citizen, as India has alleged.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman confirmed Kasab was a Pakistani in a text message but gave no other details, said a foreign news agency.

It may be remembered that an earlier report of Geo News had already indicated that Ajmal Kasab belonged to Pakistan.

However, there is no record of Ajmal Kasab in the database of NADRA.

source : jang.com.pk