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June 14, 2020

Indictment deferred again in anchorperson’s murder case due to suspects’ absence

Karachi

June 14, 2020

A district and sessions court on Saturday deferred again the indictment of Atif Zaman and his brother Adil Zaman in the murder case of anchorperson Mureed Abbas and Khizar Hayat as neither the accused nor their counsels appeared at the hearing. The Zaman brothers were booked after they allegedly killed Abbas and Hayat in Defence Housing Authority on July 9, 2019.

After the killings, Atif shot himself in the torso while his brother ran away to escape arrest. As the matter came up before an additional district and sessions judge South who is conducting the trial inside the central prison for security concerns, the attorneys for the legal heirs of the victims appeared but no one from the defendants side made it to the court. The jail authorities informed the court that Atif could not be produced because of the coronavirus situation and he had not yet engaged a lawyer for his defence. Similarly, Adil, who has obtained bail, and his counsel also did not appear at the hearing. The court put off the hearing till July 2 and issued directions to the accused side to ensure their presence on the next hearing so that the indictment process could be completed which has been getting deferred since January. According to the charge sheet, Atif had called Abbas and Hayat, who were his business partners, to different places 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 showed Adil accompanying Atif during this spree. Since the beginning, the case has been facing dramatic delays. According to the police, a number of people, including the victims, had invested money in a tyre business of Atif. However, the suspect had not been paying his investors for months saying that his business had suffered some losses. Due to the shady nature of the scheme, the National Accountability Bureau had also started an inquiry into the apparent scam and found 31 bank accounts in which Atif had kept his money. Recently, a banking court sought a reply from Atif over a complaint filed against him by a bank for the recovery of Rs5 million. The FIRs in the murder case were registered under the sections 302 (premeditated murder), 325 (attempt to commit suicide) of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 23(1)a of the Sindh Arms Act at the Darakhshan police station.