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pakistan
Tuesday Jul 23 2019
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Atif Zaman backtracks from recording confession after requesting hearing earlier

KARACHI: The accused in the TV anchor Mureed Abbas murder case said Tuesday he would not record a confession statement and that he would fight his case, backtracking his earlier request for a hearing to do so.

Atif Zaman, the accused, was subsequently handed over to the police on judicial remand by the court.

Zaman was brought from the hospital in an ambulance under strict security to the Karachi City Court for a face-to-face talk with the judicial magistrate for South district.

A day prior, the case's investigative officer (IO), Atiqur Rehman, had submitted a request to the court that the accused wished to record his confessional statement. The IO informed the court that Zaman was present in an ambulance outside but it would be difficult to bring him to the courtroom.

Rehman, the IO, therefore, requested that the accused's statement be recorded from inside the ambulance, upon which the judicial magistrate walked to Zaman, with police surrounding the vehicle.

In its remarks, the court asked Zaman as to whether he wished to record his statement, if he was in a stable mental state, and whether he was being pressurised to do so. It also told him to consider the consequences of recording the confession and noted that he was being given time to rethink.

Sometime later, when the judicial magistrate met the accused again in the ambulance and asked if he wished to record the statement, Zaman declined, saying he did not want to do so, had hired legal counsel, and that he would fight his case.

The IO requested physical remand for the accused; however, the court rejected it.

Later, while speaking to the media informally, Rehman said the authorities have substantial proofs against Zaman and would continue the case properly in order to get the strictest punishment.

With regard to the financial crimes, the IO said the matter was referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and, therefore, those affected by Zaman's scheming should contact the anti-graft watchdog.

However, Rehman said the other accused in the case, Adil Zaman, who is also Atif's brother, was absconding.

On the other hand, Zaman's lawyer noted that his client wanted to record his statement but had pressure. The first time the legal counsel had a conversation with Zaman, he was under no pressure, the lawyer added.

The news seen on media were all allegations, Zaman's lawyer claimed, adding that the prosecution team would have to defend against these accusations.

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