Islamabad: Launching a scathing attack on the
Supreme Court, Pakistan`s ruling PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari has asked it to apologise for the "role it played in
the judicial murder" of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and to ensure
there are no "double standards" in the contempt case against
Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani.
23-year-old Bilawal, the nominal Chairman of PPP, made
the remarks during a strongly-worded speech he delivered at an
event at the Bhutto family`s stronghold of Naudero in Sindh
province late last night to mark the death anniversary of
former President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
He said the time had come for the PPP to "finally get the
justice we deserve in the eyes of history."
Referring to a case filed by the PPP seeking a review of
the death sentence given to the late President, he said: "I am
confident the Supreme Court will not stand in the way... I
expect the Supreme Court to finally provide us justice...
"Justice in the eyes of the people, the PPP and Shaheed
Bhutto`s family we expect the Supreme Court to apologise for
the role it played in the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfikar
Bilawal referred to the contempt case initiated by the
Supreme Court against Premier Gilani for failing to act on its
orders to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali
Zardari, and said he hoped there would "not be double
standards" in the handling of such matters by the apex court.
He backed the Premier`s decision not to approach Swiss
authorities to revive cases of alleged money laundering
against Zardari on the grounds that it would violate the
constitutional immunity enjoyed by the President.
"Mr Prime Minister you will not violate Vienna
Convention, you will not violate the Constitution of Pakistan,
you will not desecrate the graves of our martyrs. You may lose
your office. You may lose your government but you must do what
is right. There is not only the Supreme Court, there is also
the court of the people and the court of history," Bilawal
said in his speech in English.
"They can threaten to send Yousuf Raza Gilani... to
prison but he is a follower of Bhutto Shaheed. We do not fear
prison cells," he added.
Gilani could face a six-month prison term and
disqualification if he is convicted of contempt.
Bilawal took a swipe at other controversial judgements of
the courts, such as a verdict that freed the men accused of
raping Mukhtar Mai, and the poor record of prosecution of
terrorists by the judiciary.
"More than 50 per cent of terrorists presented before our
courts have been freed. I am told there is a lack of evidence
and the fault lies with the prosecution. The rapists of our
sister Mukhtar Mai have been freed by the courts. Presumably
for the same reasons," he said.
"How can there be enough evidence to hang Zulfiqar Ali
Bhutto but not enough evidence to keep terrorists and rapists
in prison?" he asked.
Bilawal also referred to the widespread perception that
the Supreme Court was soft on the leadership of the PML-N,
which played a key role in the movement to restore the judges
who were sacked by the former military regime, including Chief
Justice Iftikhar Cahudhry.
The PPP has often claimed that the apex court`s verdicts
have favoured PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Punjab
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
"The Sharifs of Lahore have had their trumped up charges
squashed by the courts. I do not believe there will be double
standards. I do not believe that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
of Larkana is hanged but he does not get justice from these
courts while the Sharifs of Lahore are vindicated," Bilawal
Referring to the attack on the Supreme Court in 1997 by
PML-N workers during the hearing of a contempt case against
the then Premier Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal contended that "a Prime
Minister who ransacked the Supreme Court is given better
treatment over our Prime Minister who obeys the
Constitution and presents himself before the court."
Bilawal`s remarks came against the backdrop of a dragging
standoff between the government and the judiciary over several
matters, including the reopening of corruption cases against
Zardari and a mysterious memo that sought US help to stave off
a military coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden last