Bilawal Bhutto appears before SC as hearing of Benazir murder-related case resumes

  • Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad were sentenced to 17 years in prison
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Peoples Party chief, Bilawal Bhutto turned up before the Supreme Court on Friday as the top court resumed hearing a petition seeking the suspension of bails granted to two police officers accused in the murder case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa is hearing the petitions with senior PPP leaders Raja Pervez Ashraf, Farhatullah Babar, Mehreen Anwar Raja and other party leaders present in the courtroom.

At the onset of the hearing, Justice Khosa remarked that the whole world was surprised and saddened at the murder of Benazir adding that the bench would look into the pieces of evidence instead of suspicions.

The bench wondered whether the accused should be handed down punishment on the basis of clauses related to anti-terrorism.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel, Latif Khosa, informed the court that his client, Rashida Bibi, has passed away.

Benazir Bhutto murder case: Former DIG Saud Aziz, SP Khurram Shehzad get 17 years jail

To this, the counsel of the police officers said that the petition is ineffective following the death of the petitioner.

Upon this, Justice Khosa then asked whether the petitioner’s family members had filed a petition and upon being told that Bibi’s daughter had in the last hearing become a party to the petition, rejected the police officers’ lawyer’s request to declare the petition ineffective.

Justice Khosa then asked Bibi’s lawyer to continue with his arguments.

On August 31, 2017, an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi announced the verdict in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and acquitted five suspects while announced 17-year imprisonment for two police officials, then city police officer, Saud Aziz, and the then superintendent of police, Khurram Shahzad.

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Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson and two-time former prime minister, was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack while she was exiting Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007.

An FIR over the incident was registered on behalf of the state following which the murder trial of five suspects began in February of 2008.

In its August 2017 verdict, the ATC had also declared former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf an absconder in the case.

The suspects — Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman, Abdul Rasheed, Rafaqat Hussain and Hasnain Gul — were acquitted.