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Category — Pak judiciary

Tackling ‘honour’-based crimes: edit in Daily Times, Nov 7, 2017.

Hazara police have sought help of clerics to check the incidents of so-called honour-based killings. The police officials in districts of Kohistan have urged clerics to issue decrees against ‘honour’-related crimes. According to the deputy IG of Hazara division police, 24 cases of ‘honour’ killings were reported in the region in the last five years.The problem with this appeal is that it leaves room for the possibility that clerics are perhaps not already condemning these killings. For if that is the case than they must be prosecuted, rather than being urged to issue decrees.

Murder is no ordinary crime. It is considered a crime against the state in most countries because it violates the social contract of the state with a citizen under which the former is to guarantee the latter’s right to life. That our penal code has yet to recognise murder fully as a crime against the state is a flaw that needs to be fixed. Once that has been done, it has to be the responsibility of the state alone to guarantee that right to all its citizens.And clerics who fail to recognise murder for the crime that it is must not be appealed to issue decrees. They must instead be brought to justice under this country’s law and constitution.Some provisions in our penal code law allow the perpetrators of ‘honour’-based crimes to walk as free men after getting a ‘pardon’ from the legal heir of the victim. Although some recent legislation against the crime has tried to address the issue of families pardoning the accused, much remains to be done before we can see an improvement in the conviction rate.

‘Honour’-based crimes are often condoned in the name of tradition or religion. But let us not be mistaken that these crimes take place because of the patriarchal social order that puts men in positions of power in society and family and objectifies women.So besides ensuring that the state upholds its law and guarantees the right to life to all its citizens, the other important aspect of a durable solution to the problem of ‘honour’ crimes is the need to do away with the patriarchal social order. Again clerics who can’t recognise the urgency of this need cannot just be appealed to do so. They will have to be made to do so. https://dailytimes.com.pk/135239/tackling-honour-based-crimes/

November 7, 2017   No Comments

Are military courts needed?: edit in Daily Times, November 7th 2017.

When the legislation allowing military courts to try civilians was passed in the aftermath of the Army Public School (APS) massacre in 2012, one lawmaker had famously stated that it was ‘the last breath taken by Parliament’. Though the courts were put in place as an exceptional measure, they continue to exist in complete violation of international law and republican principles on which this country’s constitution has been based. Recently, the Interior Ministry has referred another 29 cases to military courts just two days after a meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in which the latter had expressed concerns over delay in transfer of terrorism cases to military courts. As has been the practice at these courts, the trials will proceed in complete secrecy and one day we will be told by the ISPR spokesperson that these suspects were found guilty and sentenced. There will be no way to tell if the due process was upheld in these trials.

In addition to these 29 cases, another 90 are set to be reviewed in the next federal cabinet meeting. Some or all of these 90 may also end up in military courts.The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has brushed any reasons it may have had for not transferring the cases sooner under the carpet, because it was apparently ‘busy elsewhere’. But the Interior Ministry needs to clarify how it decided to choose the 29 cases transferred on such a short notice after the meeting between the PM and the COAS.Pakistan’s military courts operate with absolute impunity. It is not uncommon for the authorities to randomly release information just about punishments meted out to individuals without any accompanying details about their arrests, trial and evidence used to convict them. And then, there is no real right to appeal. Pakistan is the only country in South Asia to allow military courts to try civilians.

The PML-N government is not without blame here. Had they stood up to the terrorists before the APS massacre, they would not have to take any exceptional measure to deal with the menace. The government failed to act in time, proving that it was not equipped or willing to take action against groups who were murdering Pakistanis every day. When the APS attack took place, military courts were allowed as an exceptional measure. However, the Parliament extended their duration later on. Importantly, the extension was related to controlling terrorism, so the authorities must not sit and wait for a time when terrorism will disappear on its own. They must immediately review the security situation and revise the time frame for the abolition of these courts. The sooner these courts are abolished, the better it is for Pakistan’s democracy. https://dailytimes.com.pk/135244/military-courts-needed/

November 7, 2017   No Comments

Pak judicial system- two edits, Nov 3, 2017

The trial of the criminal justice system: edit in Daily Times, Nov 3rd 2017
Pakistani women continue to suffer violence and harassment and state institutions remain either unable or unwilling to penalise those responsible. The latest is the case of the teenage girl in Dera Ismail Khan. She was paraded naked in a village by a group of outlaws. The girl was reportedly going to a pond near her home to fetch water when she was captured by the group and stripped naked. Reports say she went from house to house asking for refuge, but the suspects dragged her out and kept her in illegal confinement. The act was done on account of a family dispute at the behest of influential people of the village. Eight of the nine people suspected of torturing the girl have been taken into custody.

If it’s not embarrassing enough that there are people who believe that such actions can be undertaken, the authorities must at least be concerned about the allegations raised by some quarters that the police were also involved in the DI Khan incident.When filing the FIR, there appears to be two instances of tampering with the report to hush up the incident. Firstly, in their complaint, the family has retracted its initial position that the girl was paraded naked. They have stated that she was just beaten up and kept in illegal confinement.

Secondly, Chaudwan police station house officer is believed to have used his influence to hush up the incident. The brother of the affected girl has alleged that the SHO delayed the registration of the FIR against the suspects, and he has also registered a separate FIR against his family at the behest a female relative of the suspects.These suspects alone will not face trial in the case in DI Khan. This will be a trial of the country’s criminal justice system as well. The suspects must be prosecuted and brought to justice if the system has to retain its trust among the public. And that is the least that the authorities need to do for women of the country. The public spaces need to be secured for all citizens regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, and class backgrounds. https://dailytimes.com.pk/133775/trial-criminal-justice-system/

Warped ‘honour’ : edit in The News, Nov 3, 2017
In an incident that has become depressingly familiar in Pakistan, a teenage girl was forcibly stripped naked and made to walk through the streets of her village near Dera Ismail Khan. The ‘punishment’ was imposed on the girl because her brother had reportedly been romantically involved with a member of the offender’s family. A panchayat, which included the tehsil nazim, had earlier fined the brother Rs105,000 for his ‘infraction’ but that wasn’t enough for the perpetrators, who felt the need to torture and humiliate a 16-year-old girl. They then went even further by concocting a case against the girl’s family so as not to be punished for this crime. Needless to say, the main culprits are the nine men who brutalised the girl and they should be dealt with harshly in accordance with the law. Eight of them have now been arrested and remanded into custody. But there is plenty of blame to go around and the police too should not escape criticism. They agreed to file the false charges against the victim’s family even though they had to know the motivations behind them. The only reason they have taken action now is because of the media attention on the case. Even now, some reports say the family may have been forced to change their story since they now claim that the girl was not paraded in the streets but was assaulted in the home of one of the perpetrators.

Beyond the individuals involved and law enforcement, though, we need to ponder why such incidents keep repeating themselves. Many have decried the concept of collective punishment, often upheld by jirgas and panchayats, but the real issue here is how warped notions of ‘honour’ lead to punishments being meted out to women and children for the alleged crimes of men in their families or tribes. That these punishments are often sexual in nature shows that the aim is to assert a power dynamic where men can treat women as disposable property to be used at their leisure. Such crimes usually go unpunished because the police, reflecting the society they serve, do not consider the violation of women to be a transgression. The political class upholds the status quo by serving in jirgas and panchayats even though they have long been declared illegal. They even justify the crimes by claiming they are a part of tribal or rural tradition. But the gross mistreatment of women is not restricted on the basis of geography and wealth. ‘Honour’ killings, rape and sexual humiliation are equally prevalent throughout the country. Changing that mindset cannot happen just by introducing new laws or responding to a media outcry; it will require mass societal change.http://thenews.com.pk/print/241669-Warped-honour

November 3, 2017   No Comments

COAS concerned as cases dry up at military courts

By Sohail Chaudhry in The Express Tribune, Nov 3, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has drawn the attention of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to the lack of terrorism-related cases being transferred to military courts.

He has informed the PM that the government has not forwarded any cases to military courts since January this year.

A source privy to the development told Express News that Gen Qamar has written a demi-official (DO) letter to explain the issue prior to it being referred officially.
“I have no doubt that the government is serious about implementing the National Action Plan. However, no case has been forwarded to military courts for last many months,” the COAS wrote in the letter.

The source said that after receiving the Army chief’s letter, PM Abbasi requested that the interior ministry brief him on the status of the cases.

He said Abbasi has also directed the ministry to expedite the process of transferring cases.

Cases in process: In response to the PM’s notice, the interior ministry informed the PM office that it has prepared recommendations for more than 90 cases to be transferred to military courts, the source said.

He said the ministry has also informed the PM office that it will request formal approval to transfer the cases during the next meeting of the federal cabinet.

He said the ministry was bound to submit the cases to the federal cabinet as the Supreme Court has defined the federal cabinet as the federal government for the purpose of case referrals.

He said that before January this year, the prime minister, on behalf of the federal government, could unilaterally approval such transfers.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1548394/1-coas-concerned-cases-dry-military-courts/

November 3, 2017   No Comments

CJP takes notice of Sindh govt’s alleged acquisition of Hindu cremation grounds in Karachi

by Haseeb Bhatti in Dawn, Sept 28, 2017
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday took notice of the Sindh government’s alleged acquisition of land used by the Hindu community in Karachi as a cremation ground.

The CJP took notice of the issue after Shri Ram Nath Maharaj submitted an application claiming that the provincial government had acquired land being used by the Hindu community for the construction of the Lyari Expressway in 2008.

Maharaj said that no alternative land had been allotted to the Hindu community, nor had any compensation been awarded for the land, despite a lapse of nine years.

The community is facing difficulties due to the non-availability of cremation ground, he said.

The CJP, taking notice of the issue, directed the Sindh government chief secretary to take early action and submit a detailed report on the matter within two weeks.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1360445/cjp-takes-notice-of-sindh-govts-alleged-acquisition-of-hindu-cremation-grounds-in-karachi

September 28, 2017   No Comments

Islamabad High Court concerned about spy agencies ‘tug of war’

Report in Dawn, September 28th, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The quest of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) spy to have the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) investigate his seniors for allegedly protecting terrorists may not yield the desired results, after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) noted on Wednesday that both agencies seemed to be involved in a “tug of war”.

However, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui sought a reply from the interior secretary to the petition filed by an IB assistant sub-inspector.

The bureau has already come under fire from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan after its head allegedly met ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the UK. A list of politicians allegedly having links with terrorists was also recently attributed to the IB; however, the intelligence agency has disowned any such list.

Earlier, during the Panama Papers hearings before the Supreme Court, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had blamed the IB for hampering its investigations against Mr Sharif and his family members.

The JIT included representatives of the ISI, Military Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau and State Bank of Pakistan.

In his petition, IB ASI Malik Mukhtar Ahmed Shahzad claimed that he had “reported against various terrorist groups having roots in Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and India… [but] no action was ever taken by IB in this respect, despite concrete evidence provided to it in the form of the intelligence reports”.

According to the petition, the matter was even reported to the IB director general, but to no avail.

The case was earlier fixed before IHC Justice Aamer Farooq. However, during the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel requested the judge to transfer the case to Justice Siddiqui, since an identical matter was pending in his court.

On Wednesday, when Justice Siddiqui took up the petition, ASI Shahzad began weeping inside the courtroom, and pleaded with the judge to refer this case to the ISI for investigation as soon as possible.

However, Justice Siddiqui remarked that there were reports of an ongoing “tug of war” between the two spy agencies, and asked how ISI could be authorised to carry out an investigation in such circumstances.

The judge pointed out that the interior secretary may be the relevant authority to conduct such an investigation, but he had not been cited as a respondent by the petitioner.

At this point, the petitioner’s counsel, Barrister Masroor Shah, requested the court to allow them to amend the petition and include the interior secretary as a respondent.

The court granted the request, and the interior secretary was added as a respondent. Other respondents include the prime minister, secretary to the PM, IB DG and ISI DG.

The court has asked the interior secretary to respond to the petition.

The petitioner also alleged that he was receiving threatening calls after having filed the petition and requested the court to provide him and his family members with security. Justice Siddiqui then ordered police to deploy reasonable security for the protection of the petitioner and his family.

Further hearings in the matter have been adjourned until Oct 9.https://www.dawn.com/news/1360501/islamabad-high-court-concerned-about-spy-agencies-tug-of-war

September 28, 2017   No Comments

Punjab home secy directed to decide detained JuD leaders representation

report in The News, Sept 8, 2017
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the Punjab home secretary to decide by Sept 11 a representation of Jamatud Dawa (Jud) chief Hafiz Saeed and its four other leaders against their detention. Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi passed the order on a writ petition of the JuD leaders challenging their detention orders issued on July 28, 2017, under Section 1 of Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order, 1960, for a period of next 60 days.

Advocate AK Dogar appeared on behalf of the petitioners and stated that there was no evidence whatsoever that the petitioners were planning to spread chaos in the country or that they had planned violent demonstrations. He said the government in the impugned detention orders had only shown apprehension against the petitioners. However, he said, under the law no presumption and assumption could give rise to any apprehension unless it was supported by some piece of evidence. The counsel argued that an order of preventive detention had to satisfy the requirements laid down by the Supreme Court in its many judgments, but in the instant case blatant violation of laws had been committed by the government. He said imprisonment without trial and conviction was prima facie unlawful and unconstitutional.

Advocate Dogar also alleged that the government detained the petitioners to please India and America only as different courts of the country in the past had already declared detention of JuD leaders illegal after government failed to prove its charges. He told the court that a departmental representation against the detention was filed before the home secretary on Aug 3 but no action had been taken so far. He asked the court to set aside the impugned detention orders for being issued without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

A law officer told the court that the home secretary was set to hear the petitioners’ representation on Sept 11. At this, Justice Naqvi adjourned the hearing of the writ petition till Sept 12, directing the home secretary to decide the representation of the petitioners on the given date. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/228546-Punjab-home-secy-directed-to-decide-detained-JuD-leaders-representation

September 8, 2017   No Comments

Benazir verdict: edits

‘Disappointing and Unacceptable’: edit in The Nation, September 01, 2017
The ten year long Benazir Bhutto murder case has come spluttering to an end, and consistent with its botched, influenced and erratic trial process the judgment is equally fragmented. Two police officers – accused of hosing down the crime scene and otherwise impeding investigation – have been handed town 17 year sentences for negligence.

The main accused, former President Pervez Musharraf has been declared a ‘fugitive’ and the seizure of his properties ordered.The five Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) suspects have curiously all been released.

The differing fate of all the parties in this trial only goes to show how partial the process was.The judge hearing the trial was changed eight times and the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) special prosecutor gunned down in 2013 – despite this, and perhaps because of this, the court granted Pervez Musharraf bail, and eventually he was even taken off the Exit Control List, paving his way to a well appointed exile.The court declaring him a fugitive and issuing arrest warrant in his name is a futile exercise now, it might as well scream at the wind to bring him back.Convicting him is a separate issue, the state agencies and the justice system could not even make the former military dictator face trial.

A the moment there is nothing to doubt the legal basis on which this sentence was handed out, but as an exercise of the rule of law, this case has been appalling.

Billawal Bhutto is correct in condemning the outcome as “disappointing and unacceptable”; justice was not done.However he must know that a large part of this trial was conducted while Pakistan People’s Party was in power, with his father – and Benazir’s husband – at the helm.If the prosecution was influenced and intimidated, or the police failed to lay down the basic investigative framework on which the prosecution would be built, then it is also the fault of his party.

Of course, the trial may be over, but the case will probably still continue.The option to appeal the release of the five TTP suspects is being mulled, and Musharraf’s case still hangs in the balance.The convictions for the two police officers have only confirmed the existence of foul play.

The former dictator has boasted about his bravery and his willing to come back and face trial but all that seems like bluster at the moment.Declaring him a fugitive may generate pressure on him, but it seems unlikely it will make him return.Instead we would be listening to a declared fugitive’s comments on national television and interviews to foreign publications.The pressure on the government to muzzle Pervez Musharraf – the way it did Altaf Hussain – will only grow larger.In the absence of providing a free and fair trial, it is the least they can do.http://nation.com.pk/editorials/01-Sep-2017/disappointing-and-unacceptable

A controversial verdict: edit in Dawn, September 1st, 2017

A CATACLYSMIC event in the country’s history appears to have ended with a whimper in court. Nearly a decade since Benazir Bhutto’s tragic assassination, an anti-terrorism court has delivered its questionable verdict in a case that was controversially investigated and prosecuted. Five suspects accused of involvement in the planning and execution of the attack on Bhutto in Rawalpindi on Dec 27, 2007, have been acquitted; two senior police officers responsible for protecting her on that fateful day and, later, securing the site of the attack for evidentiary purposes have been convicted; and former military dictator and then president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf has been declared an absconder in the case. It is a thoroughly unsatisfactory conclusion to a case that raised more questions than it purported to answer. While criticism has been directed at the court, the problem originated with a weak prosecution. The possibility that the state may appeal the verdict should be considered seriously, and this time the state should assemble a stronger case that is scrupulously backed up by evidence and the law.

The Bhutto assassination consisted of a number of tragedies wrapped into a single traumatic episode. Surely, a broken criminal judicial and policing system must bear a great deal of the blame for the failure to identify and punish the architects of the former prime minister’s assassination. Similarly, the Musharraf regime ought to be held accountable for appearing to use Bhutto’s security as a negotiating tool in the political deal-making that was being attempted at the time. But there is another inescapable fact: the PPP won power in 2008, manoeuvred Mr Musharraf out of office and then proceeded to do virtually nothing to try and identify and hold accountable the perpetrators of Bhutto’s murder. The party and its sympathisers argue that the responsibility to sustain a nascent transition to democracy forced the PPP government to make unpleasant choices. While that may be true — the Asif Zardari-led PPP was under pressure on many fronts — it is also the case that the PPP itself opted to relegate the murder of its iconic leader to the bottom of its list of governance priorities.

Notions of self-survival and having to make unpleasant compromises tend to characterise politicians’ accounts of their time in office. But Bhutto was no ordinary leader and her death should never have been treated as merely another dark chapter in the history of a country that has seen many such incidents. The PPP government owed it to the nation, its own party and its assassinated leader to identify and prosecute those responsible for her death. The laments of PPP leaders today may be real, but so was their conscious decision to turn their back on their slain leader for the sake of power and public office. It is a heartbreaking disgrace to the memory of one of the country’s greatest leaders.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1355190/a-controversial-verdict

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Benazir`s party remained `disinterested` in murder trial

By Malik Asad in Dawn, Sept 1, 2017
ISLAMABAD: For all their protestadons against the verdict announced by a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court (ATC), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) did not seem to take the slightest interest in the Benazir Bhutto murder trial, and no one from the party turned up to hear the judgment on Thursday.

Benazir Bhutto, who was twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated when terrorists attacked her convoy, as it was leaving the historic Liaquat Bagh after addressing a public meeting on Dec 27, 2007.

After coming to power in the centre following the 2008 general elections, the PPP had ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to re-investigate the murder case, and requested the United Nations to carry out a probe into the tragic incident.

In August 2013, then-PPP secretary general Sardar Latif Khosa filed an applica-tion before the ATC to become party to the murder case, arguing that the party had a right to be a party to the case involving their martyred leader.

The party`s legal team included Barrister Khurram Latif Khosa, Amir Fida Paracha, Barrister Mehmood Chaudhry and Husnain Rind.

The court had turned down the plea, saying that a political party could not become party to a murder case. But in order to remain associated with the trial, Mr Khosa filed another application on behalf of the heirs of PPP activist Tanvir Kaira, who was also killed in the Dec 27, 2007 attack.

Mr Khosa attended few ATC hearings, and when proceeding slowed down, he discontinued pursuing the case altogether. A couple of weeks ago, the ATC had decided to conclude the case and started day-to-day proceedings, but neither Mr Khosa nor any of his associates appeared before the court.

When contacted, PPP Rawalpindi Chapter President Amir Fida Paracha saidthat since the ATC had rejected the party`s requesttojoin proceedings,theypreferred not to attend.

`Why should we appear in a case where we were not a party,` he asked.

Priorities In contrast, the PPP leadership took an active interest in a number of other cases it was not party too either, some of which were being heard alongside the Benazir murder case.

For example, PPP leaders took a keen interestin Panamagate proceedings before the Supreme Court, and attended the final hearings of the case against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif quite regularly. PPP was neither a party to the matter, nor a respondent.

Similarly, Mr Khosa appeared as the defence counsel for supermodel Ayyan Ali several times before a special customs and excise court, which is only a few steps f rom the ATC that was hearing the Benazir mur-der case.

Another senior PPP lawyer, former law minister Farooq H. Naek and his associates also appeared before a Rawalpindi accountability court that recently acquitted former president Asif Ali Zardari in the final corruption reference against him.

Even junior PPP lawyers did not attend the final hearings of the Benazir murder case, and there were only around half a dozen lawyers on hand when the ATC made the announcement.

However, they too left court premises upon being told that the decision would be announced at Adiala Jail.

Not a single political worker or lawyer from the PPP`s Lawyers Forum was present outside Adiala Jail when the ATC judge`s reader read out the operative paragraph of the verdict.

Mr Paracha told Dawn that since Mr Khosa was pursuing the case, he would discuss the matter with him. However, Mr Khosa could not be reached for comment, despite repeated attempts.http://epaper.dawn.com/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=01_09_2017_004_007

September 1, 2017   No Comments

Benazir murder case: Bilawal, Bukhtawar, Aseefa, PPP reject verdict

by Asim Yasin in The News, Sept 1, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his sisters Bukhtawar Bhutto Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari and the party rejected the verdict announced by the Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC), Rawalpindi, in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Bilawal Bhutto on Thursday termed the verdict ‘disappointing and unacceptable.’ He took to Twitter to state that the decision was not only unjust but also dangerous and the PPP would explore legal options.

While the daughters of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto — Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari — in their tweets also expressed their reservations about the verdict. “There would be no justice until former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf answered for his crimes,” tweeted Aseefa Bhutto Zardari.

Assefa’s elder sister Bakhtawar also called for the arrest of Pervez Musharraf and she tweeted, “Musharraf ordered crime scene washed and doors locked trapping Benazir Bhutto inside vehicle.”

Meanwhile, the PPP in its formal reaction expressed disappointment and shock over the verdict announced that itwould also employ legal instruments to mount its claim to become a party to the case and file an appeal against the verdict.

“The party believes that justice has not been done, nor it seems to have been done,” said PPP Spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar while giving a formal reaction of the PPP after a meeting chaired by former president Asif Ali Zardari here Thursday which was attended by the top PPP leadership after the Anti-Terrorist Court announced its judgment.

Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the acquittal of al-Qaeda/Taliban terrorists against whom evidence had been provided was most surprising and raised several questions. “On its face, it seems a triumph of al-Qaeda militants,” he said.

The PPP stated that the two police officers had been convicted and sentenced. “But the question as to who had ordered them to wash out the place of occurrence and destroy crucial evidence has not been addressed. The conviction of the police officers will remain weak unless those giving orders to them are also tried and convicted,” Senator Farhatullah Babar said.

The PPP spokesman said it was worth noting that the prosecutor in the case Chaudhry Zulfiqar was assassinated just when he had reached the critical stage and set to oppose the bail application of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

He said it might be noted that the FIR in the case was got registered by the Punjab Police without consulting the family and without making the PPP a party to it.Senator Farhatullah Babar said the party recalled the apprehensions expressed by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir about the plot to assassinate her. It was common knowledge and she had stated it in clear words that Musharraf had threatened her if she returned to Pakistan before the elections, her life would be in danger.

He said since the PPP was not a party to the case, it demanded of the government to immediately file an appeal against the verdict. “The PPP will also employ legal instruments to mount its claim to become a party to the case and file an appeal against the verdict,” he said. He said the party would give a detailed response after full judgment was made public.

Meanwhile, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) Secretary General Dr Muhammad Amjad reacting to the ATC verdict said that the judgment did not fulfill the criteria of justice. “The ATC judgment is in contrast to the challan submitted by the investigation, testimonies of witnesses and material evidence. It seems that the judgment is either influenced or compromised. The court even acquitted those persons who confessed their involvement and some of the responsible for the murder of Benazir Bhutto were those who took maximum benefit from this tragedy,” he said.

General (retd) Pervez Musharraf at the time of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was the president of Pakistan and he was not involved in dealing with the trivial district administration or security affairs. Moreover, the allegations related to non-provision of security to Benazir Bhutto were baseless and sheer out of malice, Dr Amjad said.

Pervez Musharraf’s name was not included in the first challan and the PPP government included his name just to soothe the sentiments of party workers and to decrease its ever-increasing embarrassment. At first it was said that the case of Pervez Musharraf had been separated but the way this judgment had been announced showed that it was issued in a hasty manner. Dr Amjad said that they would file an appeal before the high court against this judgment as the superior courts started adjudicating as per law and the Constitution. “We are hopeful to get justice from high court,” he said.

Criticising the ATC judgment, Dr Amjad said that the three out of five accused who were acquitted confessed to their involvement in this murder as facilitator. They told the court that some of their accomplices died while five of them arrested. Dr Amjad said that the arrested persons had nexus with the real culprits and masterminds.With the acquittal of five persons from the court, now the real masterminds of this heinous murder had gone far off and chances for their getting prosecuted minimised. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/227464-Benazir-murder-case-Bilawal-Bukhtawar-Aseefa-PPP-reject-verdict

September 1, 2017   No Comments