Judge seeks security over Taliban threats

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RAWALPINDI

An anti-terrorism court judge, hearing a number of high-profile cases has sought security, citing threats from the Taliban and other banned terrorist outfits.
Judge Atiqur Rehman had written to the government, following last month’s terror attack on Islamabad court, seeking maximum security for him and the lawyers attending the proceedings. Rehman is hearing several high-profile cases, including the Mumbai attack case. No hearing took place in the Mumbai case last month.
The attack on the Islamabad court has raised concerns among the judicial community. The hearing on March 5 was postponed to March 12 following a boycott by lawyers against the terror incident.
However, the hearing, which is held on a weekly basis, was repeatedly postponed since then as the judge refused to appear due to security concerns.
“The judge faces security threats from the Taliban due to some other cases he is handling. He has sought fool-proof security for himself and hence the Mumbai case was affected last month,” a source told the Press Trust of India.
“However, the court has decided to continue with the hearing at its own premises in absence of the accused so that the trial is not affected further.”
Sources added that the Mumbai trial, which has repeatedly been delayed over the past five years, is moving forward and is in an “important phase”.
Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Anjum have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks in India’s financial capital that killed 166 people in November, 2008.
All the accused are jailed in Adiala prison. The anti-terrorism court has so far completed cross examination of 32 prosecution witnesses out of 60.