Supreme Court reserves verdict on Bhutto reference

A nine-member larger bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday reserved its verdict in a long-pending presidential reference, seeking to revisit the 1979 ‘controversial’ death sentence awarded to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The larger bench – headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa heard the case. The bench was also comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Amin Ud Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Musarrat Hilali. The SC bench reserved its verdict after the completion of arguments from both sides. “Not today, but we will announce our verdict soon,” the CJP remarked. In the last hearing, CJP Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that Martial law is not imposed by the army as an institution. Some people act as individuals. Sometimes there has to be a new beginning, so isn’t this an opportunity? “Isn’t it an opportunity for institutions to be indifferent to them by blaming for wrongdoings on the same individuals”. The presidential reference was moved by Asif Ali Zardari under Article 186 of the Constitution, seeking to revisit the trial of the PPP Founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s murder trial.