As charges were framed on November 25, 2009, exactly a day before the anniversary of the carnage in circa 2008, the reason for Pakistan's action was far too apparent. The Indian Prime Minister, Man Mohan Singh, was visiting the United States and Pakistan wanted to appear doing all the right things by the book and earnestly too. Even as the Kasab trial in the Mumbai court was winding down, there were more delays in the 26/11 trial at ATC-I. This time, the hearing on December 5, 2009 was adjourned as defence lawyers struck work showing sympathy with those who were killed in the previous day's terrorist attack in Rawalpindi. The irony cannot be lost by anyone. Here was a set of lawyers who were defending some of the most dreaded terrorists in the world showing sympathy for victims of terrorist attacks ! In the farcical drama unfolding in ATC-I, every little delay counts ! So, the case was adjourned to December 12, when prosecution was asked to present its witness.
In the meanwhile, Ajmal Amir Kasab, retracted his confession that he had made a couple of months earlier. He now said that he came to Mumbai to act in films and that he was roaming in Juhu after having seen a late night movie in a theatre when he was arrested and falsely implicated by the local Mumbai police. He went on to claim that all the 26/11 terrorists were Indians after all !! His sudden about turn was laughable because there was overwhelming evidence against him and his own confession was corroborated by evidences, both eyewitness and scientific. Even the Pakistani investigating agency, FIA, said in a report to ATC that they had enough evidence to corroborate Kasab's confession in Mumbai. For the record, Kasab had made three confessions after his arrest. One was admission of guilt before police soon after his arrest, the other confession was made before a magistrate which is admissible as evidence and the third one was in the trial court when the accused accepted his guilt partially.
When ATC-I re-convened on December 12 at Adiala, the accused raised legal objections to their indictment. They raised the objection that since the judge had been replaced last month, the new judge could not indict the accused based on the charges accepted by the previous judge ! The case was thus adjourned to December 19. When the hearing started on December 19, the defence raised a slew of objections. The defence
- challenged the Pakistani court's decision to separate their trial from that of Kasab.
- demanded in earlier hearings that Kasab should be brought to Pakistan so that he could be cross-examined and tried under Pakistani laws.
- objected to the indictment of the accused by Judge Awan on the basis of charges that were framed and argued while the case was being heard by the previous judge, Baqir Ali Rana.
- demanded acquital because Ajmal Kasab had already retracted his confession in the Mumbai court.
- said that the accused had been charged with criminal conspiracy, but without mentioning the motive or the place where they had hatched the conspiracy.