ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) hearing the appeal filed by Mumtaz Qadri against his conviction for the murder of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer on Monday indefinitely adjourned all other cases being heard by the concerned bench.
A two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui re-issued a notice to Taseer's legal heirs.
More than 50 lawyers, including former chief justice of Lahore High Court Khawaja Sharif, were present in court for Qadri's defence. The court decided that the next hearing of the case will take place in courtroom number 3 owing to space constraints.
Qadri's counsel told the court that out of the 43 witnesses, 14 had been presented and 29 remain missing.
Advocate General for Islamabad Mian Abdul Rauf told the court that notices were issued to Taseer's legal heirs. He further asked the court to follow up on the implementation of the notices.
Justice Noorul Haq in his response said that although the notices had been issued, if nobody appears before the court, they could not be forced to.
"A media trial is being conducted against us and people are talking about transferring the case to military courts," said Sharif.
On Qadri's request, the hearing has been adjourned until tomorrow, when his counsel will present his appeal before the court.
Last week, important records related to the Salman Taseer murder case mysteriously disappeared from the office of the attorney general (AG) in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) after Qadri's appeal was fixed for hearing.
An IHC official said that the file could be reconstructed with the help of judicial records. A separate file of this case is also present at the office of the superintendent of police. The prosecution, he said, can get photocopies of the record either from the judicial record or the police file.
A law officer pointed out that if the file could not be traced or reconstructed before the next date of hearing on Feb 3, the case would likely be delayed as the prosecution would not be left with any option but to seek an adjournment.