‘Concerned’ over Zardari’s remarks: SC to form larger bench for Benazir murder case

Published: January 31, 2012

Court also issued notices to respondents in the case to submit replies to the court. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVED/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: In response to President Asif Ali Zardari’s speech on December 27 criticising the judiciary, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday that it may constitute a larger bench to address the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

The court also issued notices to former president Pervez Musharraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Vice President of the Pakistan Peoples Party Dr Babar Awan and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Pervaiz Elahi, along with others allegedly involved in the case, to submit replies to the court.

Heading a three-member bench, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to take directives from the government in this regard.

The chief justice also ordered the special judge of an anti-terrorism court to submit photocopies of the FIR registered in the case, reports and records, and a summary of the progress made in the case so far, by the next hearing.

The court observed that the case was serious in nature and that people wanted to know the truth behind Bhutto’s assassination.

The three-member bench, comprising the chief justice, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Pervaiz, said that the court was concerned because President Zardari had earlier remarked publicly that the court was not taking the matter seriously.

The chief justice observed that the court would have taken a suo motu action in the case, but did not because a petition was submitted to the court.

Referring to the grievances of Ch Aslam, the petitioner in the case, Justice Chaudhry asked the attorney general why the government was not giving preference to record the statement of an eyewitness who had received injuries when Bhutto was assassinated.

The AG replied that as per investigation conducted by three independent bodies other aspects of the case are also being considered and cases against Musharraf and other officials as mentioned in the petition are already pending before the courts.

During the hearing, the chief justice asked the attorney general if he was satisfied with the progress of the investigation. The AG said that, there was no problem in the case so far, and that the investigations were ongoing.

He also specified that there have so far been three different probes into Bhutto’s assassination – one by the Scotland Yard, a United Nations Commission’s report and by a joint investigation team.

In response, the chief justice said that the UN commission’s report was civil in nature, not criminal. He added that it was the government’s job to take assistance from the report and carry out an independent investigation.

The court, while questioning the Federal Investigation Agency’s credibility, observed that it was compulsory to have an independent investigation body comprising senior officials from all four provinces.

Meanwhile, lawyer Chaudhry Amjad Iqbal submitted an affidavit to the court on behalf of the two alleged suspects in the case – Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema and Kamal Shah, saying that his clients were not involved in the case.

A petition was filed earlier in the court, requesting that a new FIR in BB assassination case be lodged.

The petitioner, Advocate Chaudhry Aslam, who was Bhutto’s former chief protocol officer, prayed to the court that the first FIR submitted in the case did not mention the names of the ‘real culprits’.

The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Jan 31, 2012 - 2:03PM

    Will SC ever do some productive work???

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  • Parvez
    Jan 31, 2012 - 2:33PM

    ……and what will this achieve ???

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  • Mirza
    Jan 31, 2012 - 4:48PM

    Has the PCO SC run out of political cases? Is SC going to call the rulers including Mush and his associates or going to confine itself to the politicians only? Well better late than never.

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  • Cautious
    Jan 31, 2012 - 5:34PM

    The AG said that, there was no problem
    in the case so far, and the
    investigations were being carried out.

    Unfortunately most of those investigations were carried out by the UN and outside agencies — BB assassination and Pakistan’s failure to investigate/prosecute remains a stain on Pakistan’s reputation.

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  • Kamran Rashid
    Jan 31, 2012 - 7:31PM

    I wish it happens, Justice should have a blind eye towards people who commit crime.

    Nation now is waiting that Justice should be delivered and administered not delayed.

    If Justice is done at top level nation will stand behind and always remember individuals do not matter.

    Always support that the there should be a highly visible justice for high profile people as they are more accountable than those who are at bottom.

    Tomorrow if public came to know health minister on account of huge deaths due to poor medicine or PM/President due to proven corruption are is behind bar or disqualified from holding public office will not be surprised and it does not mean political parties are banned infact this would be an opportunity for them to bring up clean figure heads.

    This will also help both parties to make reform within their ranks.

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  • Attif Abbas
    Feb 1, 2012 - 12:14AM

    What about Zardari involvement in the case and issue of demage to punjabi’s property and life in the interior Sindh.These are are well interconnected issues.SC should take this as a single case.

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  • Khurrum
    Feb 1, 2012 - 12:56AM

    We all know who are the culprits ? It is Rahman Malik , babar awan and chuadhry brothers . Mr president needs to open his eyes

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  • Kamran
    Feb 1, 2012 - 5:22AM

    As I said Justice should now be delivered and public should buy it and must witness the visibility ASAP.

    One remark was BB not an ordinary person where law does not discriminate at all.

    Yes BB was ex PM and leader that’s all no need to mention obvious facts about public love for her.

    I think now we have serious leadership crisis at all ends -there should not be a flavour of biased judgement , if memo has no ground should be rejected, letter is on hold by breaching rules must be written, corruption is there all must be disqualified and evidence is destroyed or justice is obstructed should punish responsibles.

    Certainly BB murder was a heinous crime and nation would stand obliged to book criminals regardless of their profile or section.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 1, 2012 - 11:23PM

    I hope that people of Pakistan will come to know sooner or later as who were the people behind the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

    Though people have already formed their opinion about the murders, but want to hear from SC to confirm whether whatever the opinion they formed was right or wrong?

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