The indictment in the murder case of anchorperson Mureed Abbas and construction contractor Khizar Hayat was deferred for a week on Saturday with the trial court reordering the police to arrest the absconding suspect and present him on the next hearing.
Atif Zaman and his brother Adil Zaman were booked for the murders of Abbas and Hayat who were killed within a short duration in Defence Housing Authority on July 9, 2019.
Atif was arrested soon after the incident while Adil remained on the run for five months until police traced him back to his native town near Abbottabad, but their trial has not yet begun because of dramatic delays in the case.
Adil, however, was granted bail in June this year but in September after the Supreme Court cancelled his bail, he ran away from the court premises.
On the previous hearing, the judge at a South sessions court in the central jail had given police four weeks to arrest Adil, observing that in case of failure to arrest him, his case would be separated and the present suspect would be taken to the trial.
The investigation officer of the case had told the court that the suspect had fled to the Federally Administered Tribal Area and police teams were chasing him. He was given more time to arrest the suspect.
The case has seen a fair share of delays since beginning. The first turn in the case took place in the third week when Atif was brought in an ambulance to the City Courts to record his confession but he refused to give any on account that he would contest the case.
Soon after this, police recommended the case for trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) but the anti-terrorism court tasked with hearing the case referred it back to the sessions court, observing that the case did not fell within terrorism.
According to the investigators, the deceased had invested their money with Atif who offered them higher returns. But when he stopped paying them, they demanded their investment back, over which they were murdered.
The charge sheet read that Atif called Abbas and Hayat to two different places in DHA on the pretext of returning some of the amount. He first shot Hayat at a signal and later went to kill Abbas in an office. CCTV footage showed Adil accompanying Atif during this spree.
After the case was given back to a sessions court, the home department sent it to another court in jail, citing security concerns. Recently, the wife of the slain anchorperson moved the District South judiciary, seeking the transfer of the case to another court, raising mistrust on the current judge.
The FIRs were registered under the 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.