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Mumbai Attacks: Indian Joint Secretary to Visit Pakistan

Islamabad: The Pakistan foreign ministry  gave its willingness  yesterday  for a team of Indian legal experts headed by its  joint secretary Dharmender Sharma  to visit Islamabad this week to finalize the terms of reference for a Pakistani judicial commission that will go to Mumbai to gather evidence on the 2008 terror attacks on the financial hub.

Diplomatic sources told The Fortress that a senior official of the Indian High Commission had discussed the matter with Zehra Akbari, Director General (South Asia) at the Foreign Office and received consent for the Indian team’s visit.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik also said on Monday  that the second judicial commission could visit India on January 2 or 3 if its terms of reference are  finalized by the Indian legal experts and the Pakistani Attorney General this week.

According to Indian media reports home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has appointed   joint secretary (internal security) Dharmender Sharma to visit  Islamabad next week with a draft agreement to allow the judicial commission to visit India.

Pakistani officials said they had received a request from India for the visit by the delegation of legal experts on Wednesday to discuss the terms of reference for the judicial commission which is expected to visit India in the near future.

This will be the second judicial commission formed by Pakistan to investigate and gather evidence on the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which were blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The report of the first judicial commission was rejected by the anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of the seven suspects of Lashkar Taiba after defense lawyers raised objections on the ground that they were not allowed to cross-examine witnesses. The court declared the findings of the first judicial commission illegal.