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August 10, 2020

Zaman brothers’ indictment in DHA double murder case deferred again

Karachi

August 10, 2020

A district & sessions court on Saturday deferred the indictment of the Zaman brothers once again in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) double murder case.

The additional district & sessions judge (South) at the judicial complex inside the Central Jail Karachi has now fixed August 28 for the framing of charges. Atif Zaman and his brother Adil Zaman were booked for the murders of anchorman Mureed Abbas and construction contractor Khizar Hayat, who were killed a few minutes apart in the upmarket DHA neighbourhood on July 9 last year.

Atif was arrested soon after the incident, while Adil was on the run for five months until the police traced him to the brothers’ home town near Abbottabad, but their trial could not begin before due to dramatic delays in the case.

In Saturday’s hearing, the court directed Adil to appear before the Supreme Court over the plea against his bail. The court recently granted him bail, which the complainant opposed at the appellant forum.

The case has been facing dramatic delays since the beginning. The first turn came in the third week of the case, when Atif was brought in an ambulance to the court to record his confession, but he refused to give any on account that he would contest the case.

Soon after this, the police recommended the case to be tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act but the anti-terrorism court tasked with the case referred it back to the sessions court, observing that the case did not fall within the purview of terrorism.

According to the investigators, the deceased men had invested their money with Atif, who had offered them higher returns, but when the he stopped paying them their share, they demanded their money back, over which they were murdered.

The charge sheet states that Atif called Abbas and Hayat to two different locations in DHA on the pretext of returning some of their money, he first shot Hayat at a traffic signal and later went to kill Abbas in an office, and the CCTV camera footage show Adil accompanying Atif in these murders.

After the case was given back to a sessions court, the home department sent it to another court in jail citing security concerns. The widow of the anchorman recently moved the South judiciary seeking transfer of the case to another court, voicing mistrust in the current judge.

The FIRs in the double murder case were registered under sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 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.