Latest: Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Bhutto, hanged in 1979, was denied fair trial: Top court
NBS Webdesk

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ruled that the country’s democratically elected former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged 44 years ago after being convicted of murder, did not get a fair trial.

In a unanimous “opinion,” the nine-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, declared that Bhutto’s conviction did not meet the requirements of a “fair trial and due process.”

“We didn’t find that the fair-trial and due-process requirements were met,” the court said in a ruling.

The court will issue a detailed order later. However, it said the initial verdict cannot be reversed.

Bhutto, founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was hanged in a prison in Rawalpindi on April 4, 1979, two months after the Supreme Court found him guilty of masterminding the killing of a political rival.

The hanging came two years after Bhutto was removed from power by military dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who ruled until he died in a plane crash in August 1988.

Bhutto’s elected government was toppled by his hand-picked Army Chief Zia-ul-Haq in July 1977.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari is the husband of Bhutto’s daughter and two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Benazir was assassinated in 2007 during a political rally.

The latest court ruling came in response to a judicial reference filed by Asif Ali Zardari during his tenure as president in 2011. It sought an opinion by the top court on revisiting the death sentence awarded to the PPP founder.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the current PPP chairman and Asif Ali’s son, was present in the courtroom and described the unanimous opinion of the top judges as “historic.”

“I thank the judges for this historic ruling. I will talk in detail after the release of a detailed order,” Bilawal told reporters outside the court.

“Our family waited 3 generations to hear these words,” Bhutto Zardari said later in a post on X.


Bhutto’s hanging was largely condemned by legal experts in Pakistan as a “judicial murder” carried out at the behest of a military regime.

Observers say Zia-ul-Haq’s 11 years of dictatorship was an assault on democracy. There was persecution and jailing of the PPP workers and public flogging of opponents and critics.

Zia’s era also pushed Pakistan into extremism and militancy by propping up and backing militant groups to fight a US proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Source: Presstv

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