Murder case of Wali Khan Babar: Trial delayed as prosecutor goes on leave
Karachi: The Anti-Terrorism Court-III adjourned the murder trial of Wali Khan Babar for a week on Tuesday after the special public prosecutor went on leave and an acting prosecutor failed to appear.
Special Public Prosecutor Abdul Maroof was to make final arguments in the murder case of Babar, a Geo News reporter who was shot dead in Liaquatabad in January 2011.
In his place, Assistant Public Prosecutor Abdullah Rajput was made acting special public prosecutor to represent the state but he did not show up.
The court put off the hearing till October 29.
At a previous hearing, judge Saleem Raza Baloch had issued a notice directing the defence counsel to tell the court whether he was ready to contest the charges at the next hearing so the final arguments could be heard.
Maroof had pointed out that the defence counsel had been absent and the case had been adjourned several times, which was against the spirit of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
According to Section 19 of Sub- section (7) of the ATA, a court is duty-bound to proceed with the trial on a day-to-day basis and conclude it within seven working days, failing which an application may be made to the administrative judge of the high court for appropriate directions to dispose of the case.
Six witnesses, who saw the journalist being shot dead in his car on his way back home, have been killed one after the other.
Advocate Naimat Ali Randhawa was killed in North Nazimabad on September 26 after he agreed to represent the complainant in the case.
City police chief Shahid Hayat Khan told a news conference last month that Randhawa, an office-bearer of a lawyers’ body affiliated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, was allegedly murdered due to his role in the murder case.
The Randhawa murder case is also being heard by the same anti-terrorism court.
A new post-mortem report revealed on Monday that the senior lawyer had been shot thrice, not once as was wrongly claimed by a medico-legal officer in his report after the first post-mortem at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
The second post-mortem was conducted after a medical team exhumed Randhawa’s remains from his grave at the Paposhnagar graveyard.
News Desk adds: Sindh Advocate General Khalid Javed Khan took notice of the failure of the acting prosecutor to appear, Geo News reported.
He ordered a probe and said action would be taken against any officials found negligent in fulfilling their responsibilities.
The advocate general said that a prosecutor would be appointed in a day or two to take up the murder trial.