SC Declares Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Murder Trial Unfair

Supreme Court of Pakistan’s nine-member bench had held back its decision on the murder trial involving the founder of PPP, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday delivered its long-awaited verdict on the trial, sentence, and execution of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, declaring that he was not given a fair trial.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa presided over a nine-member bench, which reserved its opinion on a 2011 presidential reference seeking to revisit the controversial case of the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder and ex-premier.

The bench, comprising esteemed justices including Sardar Tariq Masood, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Yahya Afridi, Amin-ud-Din Khan, Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Musarrat Hilali, had been deliberating since Monday.

CJP Isa, while announcing the short order, emphasized that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did not receive a fair trial, failing to meet the constitutional requirement of due process. Bhutto was executed on April 4, 1979, following a Supreme Court verdict in a murder case, which his party vehemently condemned as a “judicial murder.”

This verdict follows a series of hearings conducted by an 11-member larger bench, chaired by former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, after the filing of the presidential reference.

Resuming the proceedings on December 12, the current Chief Justice took charge of the case, following a decision to expedite the matter under the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, as determined by a three-member committee led by CJP Isa, alongside Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

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