SC reserves verdict in Z A Bhutto reference

SC reserves verdict in Z A Bhutto reference

SC reserves verdict in Z A Bhutto reference

SC reserves verdict in Z A Bhutto reference

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its verdict in a presidential reference pertaining to the sentence of former prime minister Zulifkar Ali Bhutto.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s Raza Rabbani and Ahmed Raza Qasuri, complainant in the Bhutto case, concluded their arguments.

The nine-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Amin ud Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Musarrat Hilali heard the reference.

During the course of proceedings, the Additional Attorney General stated that the investigation into the Bhutto case was closed on the order of a magistrate, but its re-investigation was conducted without taking any fresh judicial order.

He said the entire trial was based on an investigation that was not legal, and it seemed that the case was reopened on the then government’s intervention.

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Raza Rabbani, the counsel for Sanam, Aseefa and Bakhtawar Bhutto, argued that at the time of Bhutto case, basic human rights were suspended due to the enforcement of martial law in the country. The Lahore High Court (LHC) and the apex court were not working under the Constitution at that time, while the prosecutor in the case was dictator Ziaul Haq.

He said that martial law was imposed in the country despite the fact political matters between the opposition and the government for new elections were settled.

Raza Rabbani said that at that time, there was a triangle of martial law administrator, the then Chief Justice of Pakistan and the acting Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. The three could have lost their jobs if Bhutto was acquitted, he added.

On the occasion, Ahmed Raza Kasuri said that he had filed a private complaint in 1977. It was said that the accused was very powerful and the sessions judge would not be able to do justice. On that ground, the matter was transferred to the Lahore High Court, he added.

The CJP observed that why he (Kasuri) did not move the court against closure of the investigation into the case, and why it took him three years to do so.

How an influential family like him’s could be deterred from filing a complaint, he added.

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Justice Mandokhel noted that the complainant even did not challenge the order for closure of the inquiry.

CJP Isa asked Kasuri whether he had reconciled with Bhutto as he had joined the latter’s party and asked for an election ticket. He should not have even met the person who was being held responsible for the murder of his father, he pointed out.

Kasuri said that Zulifkar Ali Bhutto had himself given him (Kasuri) his party’s symbol. He had opposed ZAB due to his four statements.

He said that if the apex court gave a decision in Article 186 it would open a floodgate. He maintained that the presidential reference was not admissible according to the law.

The chief justice remarked that there was a presidential reference before the court and it had to hear it.

The top court reserved the judgment after the respondents concluded their arguments. The reference was filed by former president Asif Ali Zardari in 2011.

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