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Six suspects remanded in FIA custody

Islamabad, February 15
At least six suspects detained by Pakistan in connection with the Mumbai attacks, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, have reportedly been remanded in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for interrogation for two weeks.

Anti-terror court judge Sakhi Mohammed Kahut remanded the suspects to the custody of the FIA for 14 days after they were produced before him at an undisclosed location yesterday, media reports said. The suspects were booked for planning, financing and abetting the attacks.

Lakhvi, LeT communications expert Zarar Shah and Hamad Amin Sadiq, described by Pakistani officials as the "main operator" behind the Mumbai incident, are among the suspects handed over to the FIA. However, there was confusion over the number of suspects remanded to the FIA’s custody. Geo News channel said six suspects were handed over to FIA while Dawn News channel reported the agency was granted “physical remand” for eight suspects.

While announcing filing of formal charges against nine suspects on Thursday, Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said Pakistani authorities had detained six of the accused. Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the Mumbai attacks, was also named among the suspects. Malik said two more suspects had been identified but were still at large. Western diplomatic sources said that Lakhvi, Shah and Sadiq were among the suspects being held by Pakistani security agencies. They had earlier been questioned by the ISI before being handed over to the security agencies, the sources said.

Lakhvi and Shah were held during raids by the Pakistan Army on LeT facilities near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, in early December. It is believed that the government has decided to try the accused in a special anti-terrorism court and the proceedings are expected to be held in-camera. Reports suggested the trial could be held at the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

This decision is believed to have been influenced by the close links that existed earlier between the LeT and the Pakistani security establishment. Any disclosures about such links by the detained LeT suspects in an open court could prove embarrassing for the establishment, observers said. — PTI

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