Reference against ZAB hanging in SC


ISLAMABAD – The federal government on Saturday filed a reference in the Supreme Court seeking the reopening of the former prime minister and founder of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s “murder” case.
The federal government submitted the reference through Federal Law Secretary Masood Chishti. President Asif Ali Zardari forwarded the reference to the SC under Article 186 of the constitution for revisiting the case, reported as PLD 1979 SC pages 38-53.
Meanwhile, a press release issued by the Supreme Court said the reference had been received and was being put up before Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for further processing or disposal. Earlier, addressing a press conference, Law Minister Babar Awan said the PPP had filed the reference in the court to wash off a black spot from the judicial history, adding that the reopening of the case would strengthen Pakistan’s judiciary as well. He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan was reopening 40-year-old cases, including that of the recovery of loans.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will also reopen the Bhutto murder case like other cases,” the law minister said. The president had been authorised by the federal cabinet to send a reference to the SC regarding the Bhutto murder case, Awan said. He also said Zulfikar was executed by a military dictator despite appeals made by the world leaders and serious reservations expressed by international jurists over the legal propriety of the sentence.
He said international jurists had rejected the decision, as it was also not delivered in accordance with Islamic Sharia. To a question, Awan said the reference to reopen the case could not be filed during the previous two PPP governments as they had had eventual dismissals by then presidents Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Farooq Leghari.
“The judicial murder of Bhutto is present in the books but no one accepts it,” he said. Asked if he would contest the case, Awan said it would be an honour for him if the Supreme Court summoned him for arguments in the historic case.