Islamabad: A Pakistani court conducting the trial of seven suspects charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks will take up on July 23 two crucial applications filed by prosecutors for forming a commission to interview key persons in India.

During proceedings conducted on Tuesday by anti-terrorism court judge Shahid Rafique, the seven accused received copies of several key documents provided by Indian authorities,
sources told agency.

The sources said the prosecution informed the court that the Indian government had agreed in principle to allow the Pakistani commission to interview four persons – two doctors, a magistrate who had recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving attacker, and the police officer who led the investigation into the Mumbai incident.

Pakistan, however, had requested India to allow its commission to interview 26 persons, including Kasab, who has already been convicted and sentenced to death by a special
court in Mumbai.

Khwaja Sultan, the counsel for Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, argued in court that the commission would be meaningless as India was not prepared to give access to all 26 witnesses, including Kasab.

Sources said the anti-terrorism court will on July 23 take up two applications for forming the commission to go to India.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said it is crucial for the commission to visit India and interview key persons to take forward the trial of the Pakistani suspects.

Pakistani prosecutors were also unable to push a move to speed up hearings of the case against the seven suspects.

Sources said the move was initiated by the Federal Investigation Agency with an eye on an upcoming meeting of Interior Ministers of SAARC countries to be held in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu from July 20.

Interior Minister Malik is scheduled to head the Pakistani delegation at the SAARC gathering and a meeting with his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the meet is yet to be finalised, sources said.

The seven Pakistani suspects, including several LeT members, have been accused of planning, facilitating and financing the November 2008 attacks in India's financial hub
that killed 166 people.

The trial has been marred by repeated delays and only one out of over 160 prosecution witnesses has testified so far.

Shahid Rafique is the fifth judge to hear the case since proceedings began in early 2009.

(Agencies)