Thursday May 23, 2024

Main suspect finally indicted in DHA double murder case

By Zubair Ashraf
February 21, 2021

Finally, after a lapse of over one-and-a-half years, a sessions court is set to begin next month the trial of one of the two accused in the case of two murders, including that of an anchorperson, in Defence House Authority (DHA). On Saturday, the South additional district and sessions judge at the Central Jail Karachi framed charges on Atif Zaman for murdering anchorperson Mureed Abbas and another man Khizar Hayat as well as for possessing an illicit weapon.

According to the prosecution, Atif with the aid of his brother Adil Zaman, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, killed the two in DHA on July 9, 2019.

Both the victims were partners in a business with Atif and were demanding their money back owing to non-payment of their shares in profit – which apparently instigated him to commit the murders, the prosecution added.

Atif called Abbas and Hayat at two different places in DHA on the pretext of returning some of the owed amount, the charge sheet read. It added that Atif first shot Hayat at a signal and later went to kill Abbas in an office. It was also alleged that Adil accompanied his brother during the murders.

Atif denied the charges and opted to contest the case after which the judge ordered beginning of the trial on March 6 and directed the investigation officer to bring witnesses on the next hearing.

Meanwhile, the court has bifurcated the case for Adil who has been absconding since the Supreme Court revoked his bail in September 2020. He will be charged separately after he is arrested again.

Atif was taken in custody soon after the incident when police raided his apartment but he shot himself in the torso. He was then shifted to a private hospital for treatment where he survived.

Adil was also arrested in October 2019 from northern areas of the country. However, a sessions court granted him bail in June 2020, following which Zara Abbas, the wife of the slain anchorperson, moved the appellate forum against it.

The case has seen a fair share of dramatic delays since the beginning. Following is a chronology of the events:

On June 23, 2019, Atif was brought to the City Courts in an ambulance by police to record his confessional statement. He denied to do so.

On August 20, 2019, police added a clause of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) in the case following Atif’s refusal to confess to the murders.

On September 30, 2019, an anti-terrorism court dropped the ATA clause from the case and referred it back for trial at a sessions court.

On October 12, 2019, two eyewitnesses deposed against Adil during an identification parade.

On November 2, 2019, police filed a charge sheet against the Zaman brothers.

On December 10, 2019, the Sindh home department transferred the case to jail for security reasons.

On June 22, 2020, Adil was released from prison on bail.

On July 2, 2020, Zara expressed that she had no confidence over the trial court.

On September 10, 2020, the Supreme Court cancelled Adil’s bail and he escaped from the court.

In the meantime, the indictment kept on being deferred for different reaons, including Covid-19, technical glitches in judicial system, non-appearance of the accused and their lawyers, strikes etc.