PPP to file three appeals against Benazir Bhutto case verdict


LAHORE Sept 8 (TNS): The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to file three appeals in court against the anti-terrorism court verdict in former prime minister Benazir Bhutto murder case. “We express remorse over the verdict announced in Benazir murder case. We will file three appeals in court against this verdict.

The appeals would be filed on behalf of former president and Benazir’s spouse Asif Zardari, as being an heir he holds the right for it,” said PPP’s counsel Latif Khosa while addressing a press conference in Lahore.

He said one of the appeals would be against former president Pervez Musharraf, whose case was delayed and then eventually put on back burner on the basis of absconder.

“It was the federal government’s job, and not the Supreme Court’s, to put his name on the Exit Control List (ECL), but former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan provided him the safe passage,” he said blaming the center for patronising the former president in fleeing from the country.

He said legally, court was not bound to wait for the fugitive to return from abroad. He said under Section 19, the court had full authority to announce punishment for Musharraf as he was fully responsible for Benazir’s security.

Latif Khosa said soon after the incident the site of the incident was washed which was not possible without order from top ranks.

Latif Khosa and Aitzaz Ahsan had earlier briefed party leaders over the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The meeting was attended by prominent PPP leaders including Khursheed Shah, Faryal Talpur, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Qamar Zaman Qaira, Farhatullah Babar, and Nayyar Hussain Bukhari among others.

Earlier, Bilawal had called the decision disappointing and unacceptable, adding that the release of terrorists was not only unjust but also dangerous. According to Bilawal, the PPP would explore legal options in the case.

On August 31, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) announced verdict in the December 27, 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, acquitting the five accused while declaring Pervez Musharraf as absconder.

The court also ordered confiscation of the movable and immovable property of Musharraf, who was implicated in the case in February 2011.

The court found Saud Aziz, who was the city police chief at the time of the assassination of Bhutto, and Khurram Shahzad, former Superintendent of Police (SP) Rawal Town in Rawalpindi, guilty of mishandling the crime scene and awarded them imprisonment of 17 years.

It also imposed a penalty of Rs500, 000 each on both the convicts and ruled that in case of non-payment of the fine they will have to undergo additional imprisonment of six months.

After a decade-long trial, the court had reserved verdict in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Wednesday after the counsels of the suspects concluded their arguments.

The ATC was hearing the case for last nine years since Benazir Bhutto was assassinated during a public gathering at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.