Shehbaz Sharif

Pak: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Death Sentence Hearing Adjourned Till Jan 2024

Shehbaz Sharif

The Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned the hearing of a longstanding presidential reference on Tuesday, which seeks to re-examine the controversial 1979 death sentence handed down to former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, ARY News reported.

A nine-member larger bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and including Justices Sardar Tariq Masood, Mansoor Ali Shah, Yahya Afridi, Aminud Din Khan, Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Musarrat Hilali, presided over the case.

Former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had previously conducted five hearings on the presidential reference, with the last session taking place on November 11, 2012.

On April 2, 2011, the PPP government filed a reference in the apex court to reopen the case of former prime minister and founder of the party Zulfikar Bhutto, who was hanged on April 4, 1979, in Rawalpindi.

In 2011, former President Asif Ali Zardari approached the Supreme Court with presidential reference under Article 186 of the Constitution, seeking a review of the trial of PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, ARY News reported.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto received a death sentence during the regime of former military ruler General (retired) Ziaul Haq. The first elected prime minister of the country was accused of the murder of his political rival, Nawab Mohammed Ahmed Qasuri, leading to a trial.

Despite petitions and appeals for clemency from various heads of state, Bhutto was executed on April 4, 1979. The hearing has now been adjourned until the second week of January.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Supreme Court also allowed the live telecast of presidential reference on revisiting the death sentence awarded to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder and former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

According to a communique issued by the top court today, the hearing of the Bhutto reference will be broadcast live on state-run PTV.

The plea was submitted by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, emphasising that the legacy of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto endures despite the death sentence handed down in 1979. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has urged the apex court to allow live telecasts of the hearing, as reported by ARY News.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto served as the fourth president of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973 and then as the ninth prime minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977.

Bhutto signed the Simla Agreement with Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India. The treaty was signed in Simla (Shimla). (ANI)

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