Rawalpindi: Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab's execution is likely to further decelerate the already slow-moving trial of seven men arrested in Pakistan for their alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Based on Kasab's confessional statement, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in January 2009 had registered criminal cases against the seven men from the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
In his confessional statement, Kasab had accused LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi of planning and executing the Mumbai attacks, reports The Express Tribune.
Defence counsel, Riaz Ikram Cheema, said that in the absence of Kasab, the Indian claims that he was trained and sent by the men arrested in Pakistan would remain doubtful without any independent and fair cross-examination, and that all other evidence will become irrelevant.
"Kasab's death will create further problems for the prosecution in Pakistan as they had already been unable to decide his status in the case. The trial court had declined the application of the prosecution to cite Kasab as a co-accused and declare him a proclaimed offender," Cheema said.
An Anti-Terrorism court (ATC) trying Lakhvi, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal and Abdul Majid had also declared the statements of four Indian officials cited as prosecution witnesses here as unacceptable without cross-examination by the defence lawyers, Cheema further said.
On the other hand, the prosecution is hopeful that no irreparable damage has been done to their case after the execution of Kasab.
"There is further evidence, which is independent in nature, against the arrested accused other than the confessional statement of Kasab. There is a CD containing the conversation between Pakistani handlers and the terrorists in Mumbai, and a statement of Pakistani officials stating that the arrested men operated LeT training camps in different areas of the country," said Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, Special Public Prosecutor in the case.
Another member of the prosecution team, however, stated that due to the 'missing link' of Kasab, the seven arrested suspects plus 11 others at large could now get the benefit of the doubt.