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Pakistan Sindh

Waqar Zaka is deemed to be missing by a court in Karachi.

Waqar Zaka is deemed to be missing by a court in Karachi.

KARACHI: A local court has proclaimed social media and television star Waqar Zaka a fugitive due to his ongoing absence from a case involving transactions totaling Rs86 million in his accounts.

In accordance with sections 87 and 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Judicial Magistrate (East) Mukesh Kumar also gave the investigating officer (IO) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) instructions to begin the process of his proclamation and attachment of possessions (CrPC).

Salahuddin Panhwar, Zaka’s attorney, submitted a third motion at the beginning of the hearing asking the court to excuse his client’s absence since he was in New York on business and to give him time to make an argument regarding the maintainability of the plea.

The magistrate noted that the attorney had previously been urged to persuade the court that his applications to excuse Mr. Zaka’s absence were maintainable. Mr. Zaka had neither appeared in person before the court nor been granted bail by any appropriate court.

He therefore rejected the three identical applications because they lacked merit. The IO submitted a report noting that due to the suspect’s unknown whereabouts, the non-bailable warrants issued by the court for his arrest could not be executed.

After taking Zaka’s confession, the magistrate ruled him to be a fugitive from justice, noting that “there is no imminent possibility of his apprehension in near future” and that “the accused has hidden himself at unknown site due to fear of his arrest.”

Additionally, he instructed the IO to begin legal action against the fleeing suspect for the proclamation and attachment of his property in accordance with sections 87 and 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It was decided to postpone the hearing until March 2, when the IO must submit a compliance report.

Waqar Zaka could not present in court because he was in New York for work-related reasons, the attorney had earlier told the judge. The IO had submitted a final charge sheet in December of last year, which stated that Zaka had been found responsible for misleading the public into questionable online “Initial Coin Offering/Crypto Currency Courses” and encouraging young people to invest in risky, speculative businesses using social media platforms.