Date of indictment in DHA double murder case fixed for March 28
A district & sessions court on Saturday fixed the date of indictment in the DHA double murder case for March 28, providing prime suspect Atif Zaman with a lawyer on state expense because his personal attorney could not appear in court again.
At the judicial complex in the Central Jail Karachi, the additional district & sessions judge (South) ordered that if Zaman’s personal lawyer does not appear on the date of the next hearing, the court will proceed with the lawyer that it has provided to the prime suspect.
The judge said that the double murder case has been lingering on for the past eight months because of the repeated no-show of the lawyers.
Atif Zaman and his brother Adil Zaman were booked for the murders of anchorperson Mureed Abbas and Khizar Hayat. According to the prosecution, Atif owed money to the victims, and on the latter’s insistence to return it, the former with the connivance of his brother killed the two men on July 9 last year in the upmarket DHA neighbourhood.
The court was scheduled to frame charges against the suspects, but their lawyers were a no-show again. On inquiring, Atif told the judge that he was not in contact with his lawyer and someone else was doing this on his behalf.
During a previous hearing, Atif had informed the court that his lawyer had undergone a surgery, and so he pleaded that the case be adjourned for three weeks. The case, which appears to be interesting in its nature, has been facing similar setbacks since it started.
Earlier, an anti-terrorism court had reverted the case back 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 the central prison.
According to the charge sheet, Atif called Abbas and Hayat, who were his business partners, to different places, separated by a few hundred metres in DHA, on the pretext of returning some of the money he owed them.
He allegedly shot Hayat at a signal and then killed Abbas in an office. According to the CCTV camera footage, Adil accompanied Atif during the two murders.
According to the police, a number of people, including the victims, had invested money in a tyre business of Atif’s. But 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 has also launched an inquiry into the apparent scam. A banking court has recently sought Atif’s reply over a complaint filed against him by a bank for the recovery of Rs5 million.