CJP says ZA Bhutto case an opportunity to correct history

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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Tuesday questioned was the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s murder case not an opportunity for institutions to get rid of the accusations against themselves and correct history. 

A nine-member bench of SC headed by CJP Justice Qazi Faez Isa took up the presidential reference moved by Asif Ali Zardari under Article 186 of the Constitution, seeking to revisit the trial of the PPP Founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s murder trial.

The bench included Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminuddin, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Musarrat Hilali.

“Martial law is not imposed by the army as an institution. Some people act as individuals. Sometimes there has to be a new beginning, so isn’t this an opportunity? Isn’t it an opportunity for institutions to be indifferent to them by blaming for wrongdoings on the same individuals? the chief justice remarked.

“We are living in the past and history is not good,” the top judge said.

“A court established under martial law cannot be regarded as a general court,” the Chief Justice said.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned are all verdicts taken during Martial Law were ‘wrong’? Do we get rid of all of the decisions made during the Martial Law period?

In his arguments, Makhdoom Ali Khan, judicial assistant: “Biasness is almost impossible to prove,” to which CJP Isa questioned whether the case before the bench was one of prejudice or the confession of a former judge.

Read more: Supreme Court hears Zulfikar Ali Bhutto reference to revisit case

“Part of the judge’s interview is an admission of bias,” Makhdoom Ali Khan said which, “Will this be called an admission of bias or an admission of wrongdoing.”

Lawyer Makhdoom said: “In the interview, word pressure was used,” to which CJP Isa remarked if there was pressure, either he would not take pressure or I would leave the bench.

Justice Jamal Mandukhel remarked shall the bench look at every decision given during the martial law era as there were already enough cases in the SC, adding that, parliament also ratified the martial law decisions.

CJP Isa said: “If the verdict came in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto case was unanimous. The statement of the judge would not have mattered but in this case, the opinion of one judge also has practical implications for the decision.”

Justice Musrat Hilali remarked: “Can Bilawal Bhutto and Zulfiqar Junior be ordered to pay Qisas.” The lady judge remarked example of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto case was not given in any criminal case.

“The real question is public trust in the judiciary. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s case is an unsafe decision. My opinion is that the judicial decision should be given without any pressure.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandukhel questioned was there external pressure in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto case to which judicial assistant Makhdoom Ali Khan said the record mentioned in Mirza Aslam Baig’s book showed that.

Chief Justice Faiz Isa remarked: “Our main focus is on the constitutional aspect.”

Makhdoom Ali Khan apprised the court that judicial assistant Khalid Javed Khan was sick and would appear in the next hearing. Former judge Asadullah Chamkani also appeared in the court as a judicial assistant

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari along with Raza Rabbani, Faisal Karim Kundi, Sherry Rehman, Sarfraz Bugti, Nadeem Afzal Chan and Farooq H Naik were present during the case hearing at Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Later, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) adjourned the hearing on the presidential reference against the execution of the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) reference till February 26 (Monday).

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