Islamabad: Though ignored by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in his reference seeking to reopen the case of slain former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the latter had blamed Washington for the fate that he ultimately met.
Zardari has blamed only the judiciary for the murder of Bhutto, leaving aside Washington and the then dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who were blamed by Bhutto himself during his trial before the Lahore High Court.
Mohammad Azhar Siddique, a public litigation lawyer who inspected the record of the controversial murder case for four days in 2009, made these revelations after checking his notes.
Azhar revealed that Bhutto had stated before the Lahore High Court in 1978 that he was being punished for refusing to abandon Pakistan’s nuclear programme on the directives of the United States.
“I was told in August, 1976 by Dr Henry Kissinger (the then Secretary of State) that if you (Bhutto) do not cancel, modify or postpone the Reprocessing Plant Agreement, we will make a horrible example from you. For my country’s sake, for the sake of people of Pakistan, I did not succumb to that black-mailing and threats”, The News quoted Bhutto, as having stated before a full bench of the LHC, which ultimately awarded him the death sentence.
Bhutto had termed all legal proceedings against him as illegal, and blamed acting Chief Justice Maulvi Mushtaq Hussain for being biased, saying that the bench was observing double standards in his case. He also boycotted court proceedings in protest.
Bhutto was charged with conspiracy to murder Nawab Mohammad Ahmed Qasuri, father of a politician Ahmad Raza Qasuri, the alleged target in an assault on his car on November 11, 1974.
Although the LHC granted bail to Bhutto 10 days later since the case did not hold any legal ground, the former premier’s bail was cancelled under the Martial Law within next three days and he was rearrested on September 16.
“Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s judicial murder could be reviewed by the august Supreme Court of Pakistan in view of powers granted to it under Article 188 of the Constitution read with Rule XXVI of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980 and even otherwise the august Supreme Court had wide power to provide complete justice and for this purpose through original jurisdiction placed under Article 184(3) the Supreme Court can strike down or revisit the earlier judgments whereby review was rejected and appeal was dismissed by 4 to 3 majority,” said Azhar Siddique.