ZAB reference case: SC challenges Babar Awan to cite a global precedent

Published: January 2, 2012
Chief Justice believes that ‘only aggrieved persons’ can approach the court for review. PHOTO: PID/FILE

Chief Justice believes that ‘only aggrieved persons’ can approach the court for review. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: One hopes, for his sake, that the president’s counsel Dr Babar Awan has access to a large, international law library.

The Supreme Court on Monday asked Awan to cite judgments from across the world in which the highest court of a land reopened a closed case on the basis of a presidential reference.

An 11-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was hearing the presidential reference which seeks to reopen the murder trial of Pakistan Peoples Party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Justice Chaudhry was adamant that there was no such instance in judicial history where a case was reopened in this manner. He also remarked that all stages were completed in the Bhutto case, including the review appeal of the verdict.

“Under the law only aggrieved persons can approach the court for review,” the chief justice said.

Awan contended that the court had corrected its past mistakes in many of its decisions. He further stated that in Bhutto’s case the judges from the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court had clearly sided with the dictator and their bias was evident from the verdict.

“In some cases the courts have to set new precedents,” Awan argued.

Earlier the court accepted the application of Azizullah, son of Justice (Retd) Anwarul Haq, the former chief justice of Pakistan who turned down Bhutto’s appeal against his death sentence, handed to the former prime minister by the Lahore High Court.

Azizullah requested the court to provide him with a fair hearing to defend his deceased father’s decision. Justice Haq was often criticised for upholding the LHC’s verdict against Bhutto. It has also been alleged that he was a ‘crony’ of the then chief of army staff General Ziaul Haq.

Justice Haq has also been attacked by many quarters for providing legitimacy to General Zia’s martial law.

Meanwhile, PPP members Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood and Aitzaz Ahsan, both among the amicus curiae assisting the court, said that despite Ahmad Raza Kasuri’s objections, they would be unbiased.

“Although I am a PPP worker and loyal to my party, I pray to God to strengthen me to assist the court in this case setting aside my loyalties with the party,” Ahsan said.

The court was adjourned until Tuesday (today).

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Hamid
    Jan 2, 2012 - 1:53PM

    waste of courts


  • Raza
    Jan 2, 2012 - 1:59PM

    @Hamid: what else could do? Memogate, NAB, RPP, Hajj, NRO, etc.
    But they dont have time for common man issues like, suigas, electicity loadshedding, inflation, huge defence expenses, corruption in defence, etc.


  • Realistic
    Jan 2, 2012 - 2:10PM

    @ Hamid
    How about memo case, thats not waste of courts?


  • Falcon
    Jan 2, 2012 - 2:25PM

    At least PPP should acknowledge the fact that Supreme Court has re-opened the case and is re-evaluating it (even though the damage can’t be undone unfortunately).Recommend

  • Syaedain Imam
    Jan 2, 2012 - 3:25PM


    Please read Hostory of The joind Hands of Army and judiciary against Democracy


    Jan 2, 2012 - 3:42PM

    ZAB is dead… Please close this matter and let us concentrate on todays problems…


  • Saleem
    Jan 2, 2012 - 4:16PM

    @Raza … are we so confused that we do not even understand the jurisdiction of courts ??? What you have listed are economic / administrative issues and nothing to do with courts. Half the cities are not paying for electricity, what can court do for common man … start a nuclear plant in backyard ???


  • Salman Sheikh
    Jan 2, 2012 - 4:36PM

    Waste of Time,Waste of Money. How many Innocent Pakistani Killed who will fight for them???? Sad :(


  • Salman Sheikh
    Jan 2, 2012 - 4:38PM

    @Syaedain Imam:
    What Democracy??? Democratic Politician are sore losers. Hail for Field Marshall Ayub Khan for giving us Dams, Pakistan Steel, State Bank etc


  • Salim
    Jan 2, 2012 - 5:09PM

    For God sake the Guy is dead for years.The Court should not waste their time.Let us move on instead of getting stuck with the past.


  • K. Salim Jahangir
    Jan 2, 2012 - 5:53PM

    When this worthless government could not do anything good for the people of Pakistan,they have started this ………….what a waste of time? Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Jan 2, 2012 - 6:18PM

    @Realistic: memo case is not a waste of courts. It is an outstanding case of national importance. The parties involved are clearly flustered, with lots shuffling and hushing going on which tells me we haven’t got the complete picture yet. ZAB is a different matter, the man got the gallows after exhausting all judicial provisions.


  • Imran
    Jan 2, 2012 - 6:37PM

    @Falcon: At least PPP should acknowledge … that Supreme Court has re-opened the case

    Correction! The case has not been reopened. They are discussing, if it should be reopened. Wake up!


  • Imran
    Jan 2, 2012 - 6:39PM

    Very few judges like Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood. He is a man of integrity!


  • Ishrat Salim
    Jan 2, 2012 - 6:49PM

    Though history cannot be undone..unfortunately…no doubt this is a waste of time but SC does not want to give excuse to PPP for not hearing this case for review….for PPP all cases are un-important except this…so be it.Where were these PPP jiyalas when their leader ZAB was hanged…?? why none petitioned the SC then…?? no street protest was launched against this unfortunate issue of ZAB..??Recommend

  • sunder khan
    Jan 2, 2012 - 10:45PM

    Memogate is very important from the point of view of identifying the snakes hiding up your sleeves. The Government should fully cooperate with the inquiry commission and there will not be any wastage of judicial time.


  • Mirza
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:05AM

    Kudos to Justice Mehmood for showing integrity and fairness by not being a part in the case when he has relationship with a “party” to the case. It is an example for the other justices who have been openly friendly to one party and hostile to another, yet they keep sitting on the bench as a judge. Thanks Justice Mehmood for being a true professional and fair judge. You left without anybody pointing finger at you.


  • Sajjad Hussain
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:14AM

    Waste of time of courts by calling ZAB case. Zardari can’t enlighten PPP with this case. PPP must focus on Benazir assassination and Murtza murder. You can see how much idiot these people are? People know Tariq Mahoood past with PPP but even today he is a staunch supporter of PPP in all shows.


  • basharat
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:19AM

    It is true,to probe into the case at this stage is wastage of the time, the outcome of the inquiry is not difficult to perceive. The Chief Justice is very nice person, through his day to day remarks one can easily guess the ultimate outcome of the case.


  • A. Khan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:22PM

    Waste of time to divert people’s attention from actual issues : security, power shortage, no jobs, general disillusionment with life and particularly PPP government.


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