KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has fixed June 2 for hearing of an acquittal application moved by an accused charged with the murder of rights activist Khurram Zaki.

Three men, Adnan Waqar Ahmed Siddiqui, alias Jera; Mohammad Noman, alias Chikna; and Mursaleen, alias Paya, have been charged with murdering the 40-year-old in 2016.

When the matter came up before the ATC-IV judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, the accused were produced from the prison.

The judge took up the application filed by accused Mursaleen through his defence counsel seeking acquittal in the present case.

Advocate Asadullah Burdi moved the application under Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code contending that his client was behind bars since long and there was no evidence to connect him with the commissioning of the offence in the present case.

The court was asked to acquit the applicant in the present case.

The judge fixed the acquittal plea for arguments from the parties and adjourned the hearing till June 2.

The case is currently at the stage of recording material evidence and testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

In July 2019, the investigating officer had filed a charge sheet, recommending to the court to dispose of the case in ‘A’ class. The A-class reports pertain to those cases in which accused are unknown or untraceable.

However, later the second IO filed an investigation report before the administrative judge of the ATCs, charge-sheeting three accused in the present case.

According to the police, the complainant claimed that Khurram Zaki was targeted at the behest of Maulvi Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid and Aurangzeb Farooqi of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) as the victim had reportedly taken part in protests against them.

It further mentioned that 19 spent bullet casings fired from two 9mm pistols were recovered from the crime scene, but a forensic examination report revealed that the weapon had not been used in any past targeted killing.

The CTD said that Zaki had been taking active part in protests against the Lal Masjid cleric and the ASWJ leader.

He was also a complainant of a case against Mr Aziz for his purported refusal to condemn the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in 2014, in which 152 people, mostly schoolchildren, were massacred.

Zaki was also reportedly associated with media and hosted a religious programme on a private TV channel.

A case under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 324 (attempted murder) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 was registered at the Sir Syed police station.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2020

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