ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal seeking cancellation of bail to two police officers allegedly involved in facilitating the murder of two-time prime minister late Benazir Bhutto.

The top court noted that as per the impugned judgment, the main accused had been acquitted while there are no allegations of committing murder against the respondent police officers.

The bench has also noted that there were no allegations of misuse or abuse of bail. The two police officers are former City Police Officer (CPO) Saud Aziz and then Superintendent of Police (SP) Khurram Shahzad who were convicted by the Anti-Terrorism Court on account of negligence in security arrangements and awarded 17 years imprisonment.

Both the officers were granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench. However, Rasheeda Bibi, mother of a martyred in the attack which took life of Bhutto, challenged the bail of both officers through her counsel Sardar Latif Khosa. A two-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah took up the appeal for hearing. Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Farhat Ullah Babar and other leaders were also present in the court room during the course of hearing. 

During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Nayyar Rizvi on behalf of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) appeared before the court and supported the LHC order of granting bail.

The bench however wondered as why the police did not investigate the aspect about washing of crime scene.

Justice Khosa asked Azam Nazeer Tarrar, counsel for Khurram Shahzad, that under whose instructions the crime scene was washed adding it was point where investigation could have been started.

He also noted that BBC’s documentary had covered more investigation on BB murder case as compared to law enforcement agencies.

Tarrar contended before the top court that trial court had overlooked the allegations levelled against his client.

Khalid Ranjha, counsel for Saud Aziz, informed the bench that the Punjab government had formed a Joint Investigation Team which presented five challans wherein his client was not nominated at the beginning of the investigation.

The court was also informed that it was not on the record on whose directions the crime scene was washed and cleaned.

During the hearing, Advocate Khosa accused that the police officers were involved in the murder conspiracy adding that the main appeal against the ATC was pending adjudication with the high court.

He responded that the accused police officers were involved in destroying the evidence when the bench questioned what evidence was there to suggest the involvement.

Advocate Khosa questioned the assumption of high court’s jurisdiction where under the bails were granted.

However, the bench remarked that the high court's constitutional powers could not be curbed.

The bench asked the counsel what would he get with police officials being sent to jail. Advocate Khosa responded that it was the matter of supremacy of law.

He further contended that ATC had never considered Bhutto’s assassination case seriously and former military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf was controlling everything.

The bench, however, termed this contention as assumption.

After the arguments, the top court rejected the appeal seeking cancellation of the bails. Later, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari while talking to media in Supreme Court premises said that three generations of his family and the party had been coming to the Supreme Court seeking justice.

He said that he wished to become a party in the murder cases of his maternal grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in order to follow the case.

He also lamented that a reference sent by former president Asif Ali Zardari to then Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry regarding declaring Zulfiqar Bhutto execution as judicial murder had been pending till today. He hinted at becoming the party to the reference.

He further said that his mother’s security arrangements on the day of assassination were loose.  He said that crime scene was washed to destroy the evidence adding that top court penned down no judgment against Musharraf in Benazir Bhutto murder case.

The investigation in the case found 15 accused guilty. Out of the accused persons TTP’s head Baitullah Masood, Ubaidurahman, Nadar alias Qari Ismail, Nasrullah Ahmed and Abdullah Sadam were killed in drone attacks or in self-defence by security forces.

Faiz Muhammad and Ikram Ullah having absconded were declared proclaimed offenders.

Eitzaz shah was found to be a minor and his case was segregated to be tried under juvenile justice system ordinance 2000. Syed Pervaiz Musharaf is also absconder in the case and the remaining seven accused were put to trial before ATC.

 

SYED SABEEHUL HUSSNAIN