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January 26, 2020

Indictment in DHA double murder trial delayed again over lawyers’ no-show

Karachi

January 26, 2020

A sessions court on Saturday deferred again the indictment of Atif Zaman and Adil Zaman in the DHA double murder case after their attorneys did not show up in the courtroom.

The additional district and sessions judge of South at the judicial complex in the central jail fixed the indictment on February 1, with directions to the lawyers to ensure their presence at the next date.

The two brothers are booked for the murders of anchorperson Mureed Abbas and Khizar Hayat. According to the prosecution, Atif owed money to the victims, and upon their insistence to return the amount, he in connivance with Adil allegedly killed them both.

On January 14, the court had adjourned the hearing till Saturday as Atif’s lawyer had not appeared. Meanwhile, the court had rejected the bail application of Adil. Earlier, on January 9, the indictment was deferred after the jail authorities failed to produce Atif in the court on account of illness.

The judge had then observed that the case had already seen a fair share of delays and should not prolong further. He again passed the remarks and noted that the court would not tolerate more adjournments over the matter.

The trial has been facing similar setbacks since it started. Earlier, an anti-terrorism court had reverted the case to the sessions court, observing that it did not fit in the jurisdiction of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Later, the Sindh home department transferred the case to jail.

According to the charge sheet, Atif called Abbas and Hayat, who were his business partners, to different places, a few hundred meters away, in DHA on the pretext of returning some of the amount he owed them.

He first allegedly shot Hayat at a signal and later went to kill Abbas in an office. CCTV footage shows Adil accompanying Atif during this spree. It was transpired later that the weapon with which Atif did the murders belonged to Adil.

Adil maintains that he did not know of his brother’s intention to murder. After the incident, Adil dropped Atif at his apartment and went into hiding in Balakot. The police arrested him three months ago.

According to the police, a number of people, including the victims, had invested money in a tyre business of Atif against profits. But the suspect had not been paying his investors for months, saying that his business had suffered some losses.

Due to a shady nature of the scheme, the National Accountability Bureau has also started an inquiry into the apparent scam. Recently, a banking court sought a reply from Atif over a complaint filed against him by a bank for the recovery of Rs5 million.

During the hearing, the court also allowed an application moved by a bank seeking back the car which they leased to Atif. The car was with the police as the case property.