ZAB reference case

The Supreme Court has accepted for hearing thereference sent by President Asif Ali Zardari for reopening the trial case of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The PPP as well as many independent legal experts believe that the legal process of Bhutto’s case was highly flawed and that the death sentence was politically motivated. The purpose of reopening this case is to right an egregious historic wrong committed by a military dictator in connivance with the top echelons of judiciary of the time. It was, by all accounts, a highly partial judiciary and working under great pressure from the dictatorial regime in power. Therefore, it ignored some of the glaring loopholes in the case presented by the prosecution for Bhutto’s hanging. The Lahore High Court sentenced him to death for ordering the elimination of then information secretary of Tehrik-e-Istaqlal and member National Assembly, Ahmad Raza Kasuri, in 1974, and the Supreme Court upheld this sentence. The Supreme Court has decided to appoint 10 amici curiae from all the four provinces to assist it in this case.

Law Minsiter Babar Awan has resigned from his post in the federal government and decided to present the case before the court. Since its coming to power, the government has been facing difficulty in finding an appropriate person who could represent it in various cases pending before the court, including the NRO case. Recently, the Supreme Court rejected the government’s request to change its counsel in NRO implementation review case. It seems the government was once again faced with a stark choice. Given the historic importance of this case, President Asif Ali Zardari has requested one of his most trusted aides to present the PPP’s position before the court. Now that a larger bench has been created to hear this case, it would be in order if Bhutto’s trial is revisited in depth and the honourable judges come up with the correct position and remove some of the blemishes cast on their institution by their predecessors