ZAB’s ‘judicial murder’: SC to take up reference on 13th

Apex court yet to constitute bench to hear the presidential reference.

Express April 05, 2011


The Supreme Court will take up a presidential reference regarding the 1979 ‘judicial murder’ of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 13.

The government has sought the opinion of the apex court on the death by hanging split verdict upheld by the superior judiciary in 1979. However, the bench which will hear the reference expected to figure in next week’s cause list of cases has not been constituted as yet.

The President of Pakistan had sent the reference to the apex court for revisiting the case of ZAB under Article 186 of the Constitution.

Talking to the media after filing the reference, Federal Law Secretary Masood Chishti said that the reference was forwarded to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry after scrutiny by the Registrar’s office. The 18-page reference has been registered in the apex court as reference number one of 2011.

Addressing a gathering at Garhi Khuda Bux late Sunday night, President Zardari vowed to rectify the historic wrong of Bhutto’s ‘judicial murder’ and said it was now the obligation of the judiciary

to cleanse its record. He on Friday signed the reference.

Former president Supreme Court Bar Association and senior advocate of the apex court, Hamid Khan is of the opinion that it is up to the court to decide if the hearing of the reference will be conducted in open court or in-camera. The constitution of the full court comprising SC judges or that of a smaller bench for the hearing is the discretion of the Chief Justice. He is of the view that the Attorney General of Pakistan and Advocate General Punjab will appear before the bench because the state spearheaded the prosecution in the case of ZA Bhutto.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th,  2011.


A.S.Zara | 10 years ago | Reply @Ahmed: Why Benazir Bhutto did not think to reopen this case? She knew that it will open the pendora box, And it will not serve any purpose. It may also bring out facts that will not help clear the name.
Munir Saami | 10 years ago | Reply These are the developments so far: 1. Reference filed 2. Reference accepted by SC 3. SC agreed to hear from April 13 4. LHC allowed the record to be reviewed by the petitioners. Pakistan seems to be taking baby or one can even say giant steps towards civility and justice. Even Law Minister Babar Awan was not sure whether SC will take it up. If it was a PPP ploy, it has been called. I hope that justice is served, and I also hope that one day the question declaring Ahmadis as non Muslim, unfortunately, during ZAB tenure will also be called one day. As Pakistanis we should keep our hopes alive and keep working for democracy to flourish and establishe fully. Some signs are there and I hope that spirit of Faiz is smiling, who said, Hum DaikhaiN gay, wo din keh jis ka waada hay.
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