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Pak prosecutors seek voice samples of Mumbai attacks accused

Islamabad, Mar 22 (PTI) : Pakistani prosecutors have approached a court seeking permission to obtain voice samples of seven men, including LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba) operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.        

Special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) filed the petition, which was admitted for regular hearing by the Islamabad High Court on Thursday.

The petition further asked the court to declare Indian national Fahim Ansari a “proclaimed offender” or fugitive.

A two-judge bench issued notices to the seven suspects to respond to the FIA's petition.

The FIA has for long been seeking voice samples of the seven accused so that they can be compared with recordings provided by Indian authorities.

The recordings include intercepts of communications between the attackers in Mumbai and their handlers in a control room in Karachi.

Lawyers defending the seven suspects have blocked earlier attempts to obtain voice samples by using loopholes in Pakistan's existing anti-terrorism laws.

Special prosecutor Ali told the media the voice samples are needed to authenticate the recordings provided by the Indian authorities.

”If the voice samples are ignored, the prosecution cannot establish the guilt of the accused,” he said.

In a related development, FIA prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar asked the High Court to declare Fahim Ansari, an Indian accused in the Mumbai attacks, a fugitive.

Earlier, an anti-terrorism court of Rawalpindi that is conducting the trial of the seven Pakistani suspects had issued a non-bailable warrant for Ansari.

A court in Mumbai has acquitted Ansari in the Mumbai attacks case but he continues to be in custody for other offences.        

Azhar contended that Ansari was trained by the Pakistani suspects and sent to India to facilitate the Mumbai attacks.        

The trial of the Pakistani suspects has progressed at a snail's pace due to a variety of delays and technical problems.


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