Bhutto case: SC for larger bench to hear petition

Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the formation of a larger bench to hear an application seeking the registration of a fresh FIR against 12 people, including former President Pervez Musharraf and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, for alleged involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate Benazir Bhutto.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry issued the order after hearing arguments on the application filed by Mohammad Aslam Chaudhry, who served as Bhutto's protocol officer for about two decades.

The bench sought responses from the Attorney General and the 12 respondents, including Musharraf, PML-Q leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Pakistan People's Party leader Babar Awan, former Intelligence Bureau chief Ejaz Shah, former Interior Secretary Kamal Shah and former caretaker Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz Khan.

The apex court also sought the records of the trial by an anti-terrorism court of several suspects charged with involvement in the December 2007 assassination of Bhutto.

The court said in its order that a larger bench would take up the case after two weeks.

Aslam Chaudhry had approached the apex court after the Lahore High Court turned down his petition for registering a fresh FIR against the 12 people, whom he alleged were involved in a conspiracy against Bhutto.

The former protocol officer was injured in the suicide attack that killed Bhutto.

During today's proceedings, the bench headed by the Chief Justice observed that no legal heir of Bhutto had filed an FIR regarding her assassination.