PESHAWAR, Nov 16: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday adjourned hearing of a state appeal challenging the acquittal by the trial court of persons accused of murdering former chief of Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Fiqah-i-Jafria, Allama Arif Hussain Al Hussaini in late 1980s.

The appeal has been pending for the last over a decade. In the meantime seven of the 10 acquitted accused persons have died.

When a two-member bench comprising Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Miftauddin Khan took up for hearing the appeal it was informed that one of the accused persons, Faqir Gul, had expired.

The bench directed the station house officer of Prang police station in Charsadda to verify the death of the accused and if he was dead he should record statements of some elders of the area in this regard. The bench fixed Dec 20 for the next hearing.

Barrister Zahoorul Haq and Advocate Khwaja Mohammad Gara appeared for the acquitted accused, whereas Barrister Waqar represented the provincial government.

Allama Al Hussaini was killed at Madrassa Maraful Islami on Aug 5, 1988. The 10 accused persons who faced trial included former senator Hashim Khan, Captain (retd) Majid Raza Gillani, Ghalib Raza Gillani, Badiuz Zaman, Syed Ghulam Hussain, Sajid alias Major, Ramzan, Sher Gul, Jamilullah and Faqir Gul.

The then district and sessions judge, Peshawar, Fazlur Rehman Khan conducted the trial inside central prison and acquitted the accused on July 31, 1993.

It is learnt that among the accused persons only Hashim Khan, Badiuz Zaman and Sajid are alive, whereas rest of them are dead. In the instant case, former military governor Lt-Gen (retd) Fazle Haq was also charged but he was killed in 1991 while the trial was still in progress.

There were 56 prosecution witnesses in the case. An alleged accomplice of the accused, Siraj, had turned approver in the case and had claimed that hired assassins were paid money by a neighboring country for killing the TNFJ chief.