ISLAMABAD - Whether the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to reopen the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) murder case and what if the court refused to entertain the reference, are the questions taking the rounds in the legal and political circles nowadays. Legal experts are of the opinion that it was a good omen that President Asif Ali Zardari has reposed full confidence in the Supreme Court by sending the reference to it. But then the Pakistan Peoples Party should not label the apex court biased if it refused to entertain the reference. Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan has expressed faith in the court and said he is hopeful that the Supreme Court will not hang Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for the second time by rejecting the presidential reference. The statement by the federal minister could be seen by many as a bid to pressurise the court, as from the 18th of April, a larger bench would start hearing the 18th Amendment and the NRO review petitions. In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, who had filed FIR against ZAB, the former prime minister of Pakistan and the founder, stated that reference filed by the PPP government is under Article 186 of the Constitution. According to this Article, only the laws which are of public importance are referred to the Supreme Court for its advice. This is called the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. This jurisdiction has been available to the courts since 1935. It was in the 1935 Act, the 1956 and 1962 constitutions, the 1972 interim constitution and the 1973 Constitution. This jurisdiction is also available to the Queen of the United Kingdom. Article 186 is applied when one unit has conflict with another, or unit vs federation. When provinces have a contention over a point, the president being the head of the state can refer the matter to the Supreme Court to solicit its opinion. The SC opinion would be applicable to both the parties. Asked if the Supreme Court can look into a matter which is civil or criminal between two individuals, Kasuri claimed that he had filed an FIR between the night of 11 and 12 November 1974. Though Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was prime minister of the country but FIR was registered against him, being a principal accused. The Supreme Court decides the civil and criminal cases between two individuals under Article 185. According to Article 185(3), the Supreme Court has the appellate jurisdiction. If a person is not satisfied with court decision then he or she could file review under Article 188 if there is an error, but the error should be so obvious that is floating on the file. If the court finds error in the earlier judgment it can set it aside. In this case both the appeal and the review jurisdictions of the apex court were exhausted, he added. Five member of the Lahore High Court had awarded death sentence to Bhutto, which was upheld by then Supreme Court. Kasuri said a few people were aware that ZA Bhutto had filed review petition or not. He said that in the appeal against LHC verdict, four judges (Justice Anwarul Haq, Justice Akram, Justice Naseem Hassan Shah and Justice Karam Elahi Chauhan) agreed while three judges (Justice Ghulam Safdar Shah, Justice Durab Patel and Justice Haleem) disagreed. He said the appeal judgment was divided, while the judgment in review petition was passed unanimously as there was no substance in it. All the seven judges dismissed the review petition, he said. Thus both the jurisdiction - appellate and review - had been exhausted. It is wrong that judges had announced the judgment in pressure. He said if that would have been the case then Zia-ul-Haq instead of referring the matter to normal court might had sent ZAB case to the Military Court. But ZA Bhutto was tried under normal law by normal courts. The judge who had written the judgment was sent home after one-and-half-year, while Justice Haleem, who had disagreed, was made chief justice of Pakistan by Zia-ul-Haq and he remained CJP for eight years, the longest period any judge was chief justice of Pakistan. He said the SC decision, which comprised 750 pages, all the aspects of criminal and civil were stated in detailed. Every issue was agitated and resolved by the court. In the 200 years history it never happened that civil or criminal cases are reopened after three decades. About the stigma on the judiciary, the people are divided. The opponents of PPP accept the Supreme Court decision, while PPP leaders and workers call it judicial murder, he said. He said people are wondering why after 32 years the Pakistan Peoples Party has decided to file the reference when Benazir Bhutto, daughter of ZAB, remained prime minister of the country twice and didnt seek reopening of the case. These are the tactics to divert masses attention from the real issues. The 18th Amendment and NRO review petitions hearing would start in the second week of April. The PPP wanted to embarrass the Supreme Court and wanted to have confrontation and liked to go home blaming the court that it did not allow it to function freely, he said. Kasuri said that GHQ, Naval Headquarters, ISI, FIA and police stations have been attacked and now the prices of commodities have soared double. The PPP has filed the ZAB reference to divert peoples attention from all the real issues, he added. However, Fakharuddin G Ibrahim said it was not an ordinary case and the Supreme Court must examine it but confining it to the hanging of a prime minister during the era of a dictator. If a wrong was committed, it should be rectified. The Supreme Court is supreme and it should find a way. He said that if South Africa can constitute a commission after a long time, why this cant happen in Pakistan.