Bilawal moves SC to become party in ZAB reference

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Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday filed an application with the Supreme Court (SC), requesting it to allow him to become a party to the reference seeking a re-visit of the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto case.

The application from Bilawal states that being the political heir of his grandfather, he wants to apprise the court of “some material facts and further grounds” which led to the “unjust and brutal murder of his grandfather”.

“The applicant before this court does not claim any monitory compensation but the compensation for him lies in the correction of Pakistan’s history,” Bilawal says in the application filed by senior lawyer Farooq H Naek.

Bilawal’s father and former president Asif Ali Zardari, while in office, had moved reference in the SC under Article 186 of the Constitution, requesting the top court to re-visit the case. This case is reported as PLD 1979 SC.

Bhutto’s grandson states that his compensation lies in the restoration of dignity to the name of his wrongly executed grandfather and by consoling the hurtful sentiments left by the case.

He expresses his feeling that “if a miscarriage of justice is rectified and due care and diligence are exercised while dispensing justice then his purpose will be served and a victory will be achieved not only for himself but for the people, democracy, and justice and the judicial system”.

The PPP chief states, “The injustice done against my grandfather is well known, but I never instigated any agitation nor disrespect the judiciary.”

He added that one of the judges on the bench that decided the case, Justice (r) Nasim Hassan Shah, while following the voice of conscience, admitted publically the decision of Bhutto’s appeal was taken undue influence and grave coercion.

Bilawal claims that like his father and his grandfather, he is a believer in this judiciary, and believes that the fountain of justice flows from the ink of the judges.

The PPP chairman said that global trend has now shifted towards the provision of justice for innocent people, and the hindrance of the procedure is being extinguished throughout the world.

Giving examples of other countries, he stated there is the advent of criminal review commissions in England, Scotland and most of Europe in line with conventions on human rights. In the United States, he added, there is Innocent Protection Act and in neighbouring India, there is now the ever-evolving concept of curative petitions.

“All these are instruments for rectifying wrongs that have been committed to persons wrongly convicted of offences that they were innocent of. There is no reason why such a noble trend is not accepted in Pakistani jurisprudence with open arms and measures taken in furtherance of the provision of justice to the wrongly convicted,” he stated.

“Legal systems of the world are now recognising that they are not perfect,” Bilawal remarked, adding that it is even more applicable to the local legal system where poor and needy lack efficient legal representation and the powerful dominate through their influence.

“At the end of the day, the applicant before this esteemed court is a ‘Nawasa’ fighting for the cause of his ‘Nana’,” says the PPP chairman. “Refusing to reconsider the case would be oppressive to judicial conscience and would cause perpetuity of injustice which would not be tolerated by a just judicial system.”

Bilawal emphasised that his grandfather is entitled to posthumous relief under the concept of ex-debitio justice.