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Pakistan SC says Zulfikar Ali Bhutto not afforded fair trial
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Pakistan SC says Zulfikar Ali Bhutto not afforded fair trial

| @indiablooms | 06 Mar 2024, 06:14 pm

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, executed by Zia's military regime in 1979, was not given a fair trial by the courts.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, a nine-judge bench announced its much-anticipated opinion on the long-pending presidential reference to answer whether it can revisit its verdict, which the PPP and jurists regard as a historic wrong, Dawn News reported.

The larger bench of the court consisted of  Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Musarrat Hilali.

The country proceedings were broadcast live on the Supreme Court's website and YouTube.

The reference filed in April 2011 on behalf of former president Asif Ali Zardari sought an opinion under the Supreme Court’s advisory jurisdiction on revisiting the death sentence awarded to the PPP founder, reported Dawn News.

Announcing the opinion, CJP Isa was quoted as saying by Dawn News, "The proceedings of the trial by the Lahore High Court and of the appeal by the Supreme Court of Pakistan do not meet the requirements of the fundamental right to a fair trial and due process enshrined in Articles 4 and 9 of the Constitution, and later guaranteed as a separate and fundamental right under Article 10A of the Constitution.”

Reacting to the court's observation, PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's grandson, posted on X: "More than 44 years after judicial murder and more than 12 years after presidential reference was filed; today a unanimous decision announce by CJP Isa. Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did not get a fair trial. The pursuit of justice was a labour of love by President Asif Ali Zardari in the name of his wife Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Our family waited 3 generations to hear these words. Jiya Bhutto! Long live Bhutto!"

His sister Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari said: "44 years after the execution of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto - the Supreme Court unanimously concludes that our grandfather was a victim of an unfair trial. Judgement witnessed by his grandson @BBhuttoZardari. Thank you Pres@AAliZardari for filing reference to correct history."

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