Sindh CM says will contest Benazir murder case again


Shah says will fight the province’s case with consensus

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah said that they are not satisfied with the Benazir Bhutto murder case verdict, and they will contend the case again.  He expressed these views while talking to media at the residence of Leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izharul Hassan, whom he visited on Monday to express solidarity with him against the attack by terrorists on his life just after Eid prayer on Saturday, which he escaped narrowly.

The chief minister’s comments come when earlier on Thursday an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) announced the verdict in the Benazir Bhutto murder case almost after 10 years. The verdict ordered sentencing of two police officers to 17 years imprisonment for being “negligent” while acquitting the five suspects belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)—who were indicted in 2008. The court also declared then-president Pervez Musharraf an absconder in the case and ordered to seize all his assets.

The verdict was announced by judge Muhammad Asghar Khan under strict security arrangements at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

The policemen—former Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz and Rawal Town’s former Superintendent Police (SP) Khurram Shehzad—who were out on bail, and were present in the court at the time of the verdict, have already been arrested.

CM Shah also said that he expressed his reservations on the Census 2017 results when they were presented in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting, held before Eid, and added that now “they would fight out their [Sindh] case in consultation and consensus with all the political parties.”

The chief minister was also accompanied by MPA Saeed Ghani, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) General Secretary Waqar Mehdi, Rashid Rabbani, Principal Secretary Sohail Rajput and MQM MPA Faisal Subzwari.

“I had expressed my reservation when I saw the results in which population of Lahore was shown increased from five million to 11 million, while the population of Karachi was shown increased from 10 million to 14 million,” he said and added that it was quite surprising to him.

The chief minister said that he had written a letter to Federal Minister Ishaq Dar when the census process was being started, urging him to direct the census teams to give a copy of the head counts to the concerned families right then and there. “It was necessary and important to make the process transparent and easier for verification, but sorry to say the federal government did not listen to him,” he added.

He informed that during the exercise blocks were made by a group of 250 to 300 houses, and if the census teams had given them a copy of head counts to the concerned families, it would have become quite easier to counter check the population in a block through the copies available with them.

“We have planned to consult all the political parties on this matter to evolve a joint strategy, with a consensus, to fight the case of Sindh,” he said and added that PPP had reservations and that’s why it had filed a lawsuit in the court.