Wali Babar case: Govt appoints defence lawyer
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has ordered appointment of a counsel, at state expense, for the accused persons in Geo TV reporter Wali Babar’s murder case.
The defence lawyer of the accused Suleman Mujahid Baloch, MNA of Mutihida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has absented himself from the proceedings continuously. According to Anti Terrorism Act Section 19 Sub-Section 8, if the counsel of accused persons facing murder case or any case in which capital punishment could be awarded remains absent for consecutive two hearings then the court can issue the order to government to appoint a counsel on state expense.
Mr Baloch remained absent for three hearings in the Anti Terrorism Court Kandhkot and the court had directed the Sindh government to appoint the defence counsel on state expense so that the case could proceed.
It is worth noting that ATC Judge Saleem Raza Baloch on October 8, 2013 had given the last chance to the defence counsel to appear before the court but Mr Baloch did not appear. Wali Babar, a journalist who worked for Geo television channel, was gunned down in January 2011 in Liaquatabad area of Karachi.
Cases remain pending in Anti Terrorism Court Karachi and during the period four prosecution witnesses Rajab Bengali, Police Constable Asif Rafiq, Head Constable Arshad Kundi and Naveed Khan and one prosecutor associated with case Naimullah Randhawa were murdered, while present prosecutor Maroof Khan was also attacked but he escaped. The case is now in the final stage but due to absence of the defence counsel it is being delayed.