FIA prosecutor’s murder: Islamabad High Court seeks report from trial court

Zulfiqar Ali’s son urges court to issue directions allowing trial to continue without presence of one suspect

Rizwan Shehzad January 19, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday sought a report from an anti-terrorism court (ATC) court after the son of a slain Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor calling for the ATC to conduct the trial in the absence of a suspect.

A division bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Anwar Khan Kasi and Justice Aamer Farooq sought the report from the trial court with details of the action taken against a guarantor who helped the suspect secure bail in the case.

On May 3, 2013, FIA’s prosecutor Zulfiqar Ali along with his guard from Frontier Constabulary Farman Ali, were on their way for a hearing in the Rawalpindi ATC in a case related to the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. They were intercepted and attacked by unidentified gunmen.

Zulfiqar was shot 17 times while his guard was also hit. A female passerby, Robina Mustafa, was run over by Ali’s vehicle as it swerved off the road.

The trial for his murder, however, has been pending adjudication for the last three years, with the suspects yet to be indicted.

The late prosecutor’s son, Chaudhary Muhammad Nisar Ali, had filed a petition with the IHC seeking directions for the ATC to initiate proceedings in absentia under Section 512 of Criminal Procedure Code against the absconding accused, Muhammad Abdullah Umer, as well as bail bond breach proceedings under Section 514 of CrPC against the sureties which were provided to secure his bail.

Nisar stated that one of the attackers was shot and injured by the guard. He added that the Margalla police had subsequently arrested Muhammad Abdullah Umar from Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital and submitted an incomplete supplementary charge sheet against him.

Later, suspects including Hammad Hussain Adil and his brother Adnan Adil were arrested by the police.

In the petition, Nisar said hearings in the case started on June 25, 2013, and all three suspects were presented for trial.

The prosecution had produced 36 witnesses against the suspects, but the “trial court failed to properly frame charges against the accused, despite the passage of over three years.” Meanwhile, Nisar said, Umar was granted bail on medical grounds by the ATC.

On June 24, 2015, Nisar said the case was fixed before the ATC for framing of charges against the suspects when a relative of Umar told the court that he had been picked up by law enforcement agencies on June 20. Subsequently, he said, the ATC judge stayed proceedings, contending that until the suspect is arrested, he could not proceed further.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2017.


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