FIA Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali was a gentle, high-profile lawyer.
He was associated with four different criminal cases which had national and international significance. Among those was his steadfast pursuit of the assassination case of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.
Zulfiqar was also involved in the Hajj corruption case and the conspiracy to murder former Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif.
He was also reported to have denied the post of deputy attorney general in a high court to pursue the criminal cases.
“Zulfiqar had received threats through phone calls, text messages and through a letter mostly from unknown persons. He was threatened with dire consequences especially for his hot pursuit in Benazir’s murder case,” said a close friend who requested not to be named.
“Chaudhry had informed me he received a call from someone in Afghanistan warning him against pursuing the case as the FIA had accused Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan of killing the ex-premier.”
In recent proceedings in the Benazir murder case, the FIA prosecutor had requested Anti-Terrorism Court Rawalpindi to record US journalist Mark Siegel’s statement through video-link after he had refused to come to Pakistan. Siegel was a key prosecution witness. He alleged that Musharraf knew of the assassination plot and had personally ordered the destruction of evidence.
The murdered lawyer also vigorously pursued the Mumbai attacks case as the FIA had arrested seven members of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, including the outfit’s alleged operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
On his request, the Pakistani government wrote a letter to Indian authorities to allow a Pakistani judicial commission to fly to India to record the statements of the Indian magistrate who recorded the confessional statement of sole-surviving gunman Ajmal Kasab, the police officer who interrogated Kasab and the doctors who conducted autopsies of those killed in the attacks. The request was denied.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2013.