File photo. Photograph:( ANI )
Pakistan's Interior Ministry has abruptly removed the chief prosecutor from the Mumbai terror attack case for "not taking the government line", an official said on Sunday, in a major setback to India's efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists had sailed into Mumbai from Karachi and carried out coordinated attacks, killing 166 people and injuring over 300 in November 2008.
"The Interior Ministry has removed Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Special Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar, who had been representing as chief of prosecution in the Mumbai attack case since 2009, from the high-profile case," an official of the FIA privy to the development said.
The decision by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry can hamper India’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, the news agency observed. The official said that Azhar had been informed that his services “will no longer be required”, PTI reported.
"Azhar has only been separated from the Mumbai attack case. However, he will continue to represent the state in other cases like Benazir assassination,” the official added.
Explaining the Pakistani government’s rationale in removing the chief prosecutor of the case abruptly, the official said that Azhar had developed “differences” with the Pakistani government over the “manner” in which the case was being pursued.
(With inputs from PTI)