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Solicitors move to resuscitate stop-start murder trial of Glasgow newsagent

SOLICITORS are planning to go to Pakistan to try to kickstart the ongoing trial of the man accused of murdering his Scots wife in the Punjab.

Aamer Anwar, the Glasgow solicitor acting on behalf of the family in a private prosecution of murder victim Mumtaz Sattar is planning fly over as concerns continue over the time being taken over the process.

They began court proceedings in Pakistan over the prosecution of husband Abdul Sattar last January while also framing new charges against police officers over alleged corruption.

Abdul Sattar, 45, and some alleged accomplices appeared before Nankana Session Court in January in connection with her death, more than three months after his wife, 38, lost her life in suspicious circumstances.

A post-mortem examination indicated Mrs Sattar from Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, may have been throttled after arriving in the Punjab. However, her husband said she died after the couple had drunk spiked tea before they were thrown out of a taxi they caught from Lahore Airport.

The legal team remain concerned about the progress of the trial.

In April, Mr Sattar pleaded to be released from jail as he said he has cancer. It is understood he remains in custody.

Mr Anwar had previously had fundamental concerns that basic forensic and investigative steps had not been followed by the Nankana Sahib Police, which jeopardised the case.

He said:

“The process has been ongoing. The difficulty we have had is it has been stop-start with the courts on the trial position.

“There have been all kinds of internal strife in Pakistan which meant that things haven’t got started. They stop then start. It has been pretty frustrating.

“It has been frustrating for the legal team because it is literally the judge doing one day, then they are off for a few weeks and it is going backwards and forwards.

“I think it is about troubleshooting, getting the legal team together and trying to push the thing through, and getting to people in power to intervene over the local court process. Because there’s hell of a lot of corruption going on at the moment with money exchanging hands, almost to try and block the process which happens on a regular basis in Pakistan.

“Finishing this off is the hard part. If they do one trial day a month it is going to take ages to get it over and done with.”

He instructed two of Pakistan’s leading criminal advocates, Mrs Bushra Qamar and Humd-ur-Rehman Waseem Zafar, to assist in conducting the prosecution against Abdul Sattar and his alleged accomplices, believing police failure to investigate would lead to “a failure” in the state prosecution.

The legal team has previously met a series of Pakistan government ministers, as well as former Glasgow MP Mohammad Sarwar, now Punjab governor, to raise their concerns about the case. Mr Sarwar said in December, last year that the government would be looking “very seriously” at how to protect the rights of overseas Pakistanis and ensure their security.

It is believed Sattar, who ran a newsagents in Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, masterminded a complex plot – involving hired hit men, a bogus taxi driver and drug-laced tea – to kill his wife.

The couple, who were married for 14 years and have two daughters aged 11 and 14, were on a trip to Pakistan to visit Mr Sattar’s family when the death occurred.

Mr Sattar told police they were drugged, attacked and robbed by two men on a taxi ride, on September 21.

He said they were thrown out of a moving car and his wife died from head injuries.

She was buried hours later. But the family did not believe his version of events.

First Minister Alex Salmond and officers from Police Scotland are also said to have assisted the family