RAWALPINDI: Former President and President PPPP Asif Ali Zardari has filed three different appeals at Lahore High Court (LHC), Rawalpindi Bench, against the August 31 judgment of an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.
Zardari has challenged the separation of trial against Pervez Musharraf on the basis mentioned by the court that he is an absconder, acquittal of five accused in this case and for awarding maximum punishment to the police officers Saud Aziz and Khurram Shehzad of death sentence.
In the case of Pervez Musharraf, the petitioner Zardari has prayed to the court to set aside the order dated May 8, 2017 and judgment dated August 31 of ATC. Trial of Pervez Musharraf may be completed, concluded under Section 19(10) of ATA and he may be awarded exemplary punishment on all charges in accordance with law.
About the five acquitted accused, Zardari has appealed to the LHC to set aside the August 31 judgment and trial of the five may be entrusted to the ATC once again and they may be awarded death sentences.
He prayed their non-bailable arrest warrants may be issued and they be kept under judicial custody. About Saud Aziz and Khurram Shehzad Zardari, he prayed to the LHC to set aside the ATC judgment and they may be awarded maximum punishment of death sentence.
In the appeals, Zardari said that General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, DIG Saud Aziz and SSP Khurram Shehzad cannot escape the gallows on the grounds of this case. Petitioner Zardri has nominated Rafaqat Hussain, Hasnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Rasheed Ahmed, Syed Saud Aziz, Khurram Shehzad, Pervez Musharraf and the state as respondents.
An LHC Rawalpindi Bench consisting Justice Muhammad Tariq Abbasi and Justice Habib Ullah Amir will hear in these appeals on September 21. Zardari has filed these appeals through his counsels former chairman Senate, Syed Nayyer Bukhari and Sardar Latif Khosa, advocates.
As per appeals, the judgment of the anti terrorism court is perverse, wholly artificial, shocking, ridiculous, fanciful and based on misreading or non-reading of the evidence and has resulted in grave miscarriage of justice.
Appeals say that Pervez Musharraf had issued threats to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto because Musharraf found Ms Bhutto the greatest threat to his rule. Benazir Bhutto was murdered due to a conspiracy. On October 18, 2007 when she came under attack, she wrote an email to Mark Siegel explaining to him that Musharraf issued threats to her and she was also not allowed to keep private security. She also wrote in the same email that if anything happens to her, Musharraf will be responsible.
According to the appeal, former prime minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was murdered due to a conspiracy following which an FIR No 471/2007 was registered under sections 302, 324, 435, 436, 120(b), 119, 201, 109/34 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) while 4/5 of Explosive Substance Act and section 7 of anti terrorism act (ATA) at the City police station of Rawalpindi where the complainant is inspector Kashif Riaz.
That initially investigation was conducted by the Punjab Police when Rafaqat Hussain and Hasnain Gull were arrested on February 7, 2008 where they made judicial confessions on February 13. Eitzaz Shah was arrested on January 21, 2008 and he made judicial confession on February 16, 2008. Rasheed Ahmed accused was arrested on February 14, 2008 and he confessed his crime February 15, 2008.
As per appeals, all the accused confessed to their crimes and incriminating material was also recovered from them. Scotland Yard in its report dated February 8, 2008 opined that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto died of severe head injury due to a bomb blast while the United Nations Commission in its report said that “The Commission is persuaded that the Rawalpindi police chief, CPO Saud Aziz, did not act independently of higher authorities, either in the decision to hose down the crime scene or to impede the post-mortem examination.
The government press conference concluded by Brigadier Cheema on December 28, 2007, the day after the assassination, was ordered by General Musharraf,” thus pointing fingers toward the gubernatorial dictator.
That the investigation into this case was subsequently entrusted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and high powered JITs probed the matter. As per appeal, the FIA indentified 15 accused guilty of conspiracy. Out of accused persons Baitullah Mehsood, Ubaid-ur-Rehman, Nadir alias Qari Ismail, Nasraullah Ahmed and Abdullah Saddam were killed in drone attacks or in self defence when attacked by the security forces.
Faiz Muhammad and Ikramullah were declared proclaimed offenders, Eitzaz Shahder juvenile justice system while Syed Pervez Musharraf absconded and his trial was segregated too.
Remaining 7 accused were tried at the anti terrorism court of Rawalpindi. Appellant Zardari said that the United Nation Commission had pointed toward powerful in the government at that time. In ATC judgment that report has been ignored, but FIA in its report have unfurled the truth and found Pervez Musharraf and other accused guilty.
Zardari also expressed his apprehensions that the post-mortem was also not conducted on the behest of Musharraf. Appellant said that there was enough evidence and material available against the accused persons whom ATC acquitted through its August 31, judgment. Appellant alleged that former City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi Saud Aziz and Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Khurram Shehzad were privy to the entire conspiracy of eliminating Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and they are responsible for the whole gory incident. Meanwhile JIT also held Saud Aziz and Khurram Shehzad responsible for the destruction of evidence from the crime scene.
Separate to this matter, the two convicted police officers Saud Aziz and Khurram Shehzad has moved the LHC seeking bails after arrest. An LHC bench will hear this matter today on Tuesday. The two officers were convicted with 17 years imprisonment and one million fine each in Benazir Bhutto murder case.TheNews