june issue 2011
Supreme Court Reference on the ZAB Trial
In April 2011, the Supreme Court of Pakistan constituted an 11-judge bench to take up a reference filed by President Asif Ali Zardari on the legality of the trial and hanging of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
The reference seeks the Supreme Court’s opinion on five legal questions in regards to the infamous trial that took place over 30 years ago.
Here are the five questions as reported by Dawn:
- Whether the decision of the Lahore High Court as well as the Supreme Court in the murder trial against former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto meets the requirements of fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 4 (1) and (2a) (right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with law), 8 (laws inconsistent with or in derogation of fundamental rights to be void), 9 (security of persons), 10A (due process), 14 (inviolability of dignity of man) and 25 (equality of citizens)? If it does not, its effect and consequences?
- Whether the conviction leading to execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto could be termed as a decision of the Supreme Court binding on all other courts being based upon or enunciating the principle of law in terms of Article 189 that asks the courts to follow apex court’s judgment? If not, its effect and consequences?
- Whether in the peculiar circumstances of this case awarding and maintaining of the death sentence was justified or it could amount to deliberate murder keeping in view the glaring bias against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto?
- Whether the decision in the case of murder trial against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto fulfils the requirements of Islamic laws as codified in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAW)? If so, whether present case is covered by doctrine of repentance specifically mentioned in different Suras of the Holy Quran: Sura Al-Nisa: verses 17 and 18; Sura Al-Baqara: verses 159, 160 and 222; Sura Al-Maida: verse 39; Sura Al-Aaraaf: verse 153; Sura Al-Nehal: verse 119; Sura Al-Taha: verse 82 as well as Sunan Ibn-e-Maaja, Chapter 171, Hadith No 395. What are effects and consequences of doctrine of repentance?
- Whether on the basis of conclusions arrived at and inferences drawn from the evidence/material in the case an order for conviction and sentence against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto could have been recorded?