PPP backtracks from becoming party in Benazir murder case


The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Tuesday told the Rawalpindi Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) that it did not want to be a part of the Benazir Bhutto murder case after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor argued that a political entity could not become a party in a murder case.

During the hearing, PPP secretary general and counsel Latif Khosa requested the court to allow the PPP to become a party in Bhutto murder case, pleading that as PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto is Benazir’s son and legal heir, therefore the PPP has the right to become a party in the case.

However, pubic prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar opposed the move, saying that a political entity could not become party in the case, following which ATC Judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman told Khosa to plead his case.

However, apparently fearing the rejection of his application on legal grounds, Khosa told the court that he did not want to press the application.

The court consigned the application to the record room.

Last week, the PPP had decided to become a party in the Bhutto murder case and had filed two applications to gain access to the case record.

Khosa had also filed a separate application on behalf of a citizen, Muhammad Akram, who wanted to become a party in the case as his son was among the PPP workers killed during Bhutto’s assassination in December 27, 2007.

The court has accepted this application and Khosa will contest the case.

After the indictment of former president Pervez Musharraf, the ATC re-started the process of recording the statements of 27 witnesses. Khosa argued that re-commencement of recording the statements of all 27 witnesses would require many months, adding that only the witnesses required by Musharraf’s lawyers for cross-examination be summoned as summoning all the witnesses would cause a delay in the case. He said he wanted to file an application to stop the recommencement.

The court allowed Khosa to file the application and adjourned the case till September 17.

Later, while talking to reporters, Khosa said reports of President Asif Ali Zardari’s refusal to conduct an autopsy of Benazir’s body were incorrect, adding that it was the state’s responsibility to get the postmortem done.