Benazir’s case


Benazir’s assassination case represents nothing short of a black stain on Pakistan’s criminal justice system. Of the indelible kind. As many as eight different judges have headed the Benazir Bhutto murder trial and the prosecution has filed eight separate challans since the proceedings started on February 29, 2008. The four men — Abdul Rasheed, Aitzaz Shah, Rafaqat Hussain and Hasnain Gul — accused of being involved in the 2007 suicide blast that caused the death of PPP chairperson and 20 other people have also been arrested. BB was assassinated in broad-daylight on Dec 27, 2007 but regrettably this high profile case could not be taken to its logical conclusion despite passage of ten years, which sends dismaying signals to people of Pakistan about efficiency of the judiciary and ability of the judicial system to deliver.

It is all the more regrettable that no progress was made in the case despite cooperation of the Scotland Yard and five-year rule of PPP. It seems that PPP too has lost interest in the case and it has been left at the mercy of circumstances. Of course, there are flaws in the investigation beside seen, unseen pressures and vested interests in the case but still the judiciary was expected to expedite the proceedings. The most recent update on the case is that the top court has dismissed a petition seeking cancellation of bail granted to two convicted police officers – Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad – in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. Apart from that those who helped with the DNA in Benazir Bhutto murder case have been acquitted and No judgment has been given on Pervez Musharraf who has fled the country. Last year’s Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) judgement in the murder case left people at large befuddled in Pakistan. Delivered after a decade of the mysterious killing, the verdict announced by ATC Judge Asghar Khan at Adiala Jail cleared five accused in the case, sentenced two former police officials and declared former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf as an absconder.

Though politics of PPP and all its leaders revolves around the person and sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto but no PPP leader ever took any interest in trial of the case of her murder even when the party was in power. Neither Asif Ali Zardari, nor Bilwal Bhutto Zardari, nor any other top PPP leader used to visit the trial court in courtroom of Adyala Jail where most of trial proceedings took place. However, the certain interest now seems a bit shabby. Benzair’s death was a loss to Pakistan, and its high time to conclude the case. However, the current scenario paints it as a far fledged dream.