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Bhuttos death warrant did not bear certification: SC told.

ISLAMABAD, May 06, 2011 (Balochistan Times): A number of hidden facts surrounding mysterious death sentence awarded to late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by the Lahore High Court and endorsed by the Supreme Court were unfolded before the apex Courts larger bench on Thursday, when the counsel told it that three death warrants were signed by former LHC chief justice Molvi Mushtaq himself on April 24, 1979. Dr Babar Awan, counsel for referring authority, told the eleven-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that resumed hearing of a Presidential Reference sent to it by the President under Article 186 by invoking its advisory jurisdiction on the trial of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), that the execution certificate even did not mention the name and stamp of medical officer and the execution time. Reading out from the document of warrant of execution on death sentence issued by former LHC CJ Molvi Mushtaq held that ZAB should be hanged by the neck until dead at Rawalpindi on Wednesday, April 4th 1979 and directing the Superintendent of Rawalpindi District Jail to return the warrant certifying that the sentence was executed. He sought attention of the bench towards the execution certificate by saying that his dead body was suspended for a full hour and the sentence ascertained by a medical officer to be extinct was noteworthy. He said that the review plea against the LHC verdict was dismissed by the Supreme Court on March 24, 1979 and the judgement was sent from the Registrar Office and received at LHC on the same date. The death warrants of condemned prisoners were issued and put up for signatures of the LHC CJ probably in night time, he added. He said that three death warrants were issued by the LHC CJ on the same date and he became the first adjudicator in the world to sign the death warrants as chief justice himself. The Chief Justice questioned how it was possible to send warrants to Lahore when there was no motorway. Justice Muhammad Sair Ali in a sarcastic tone remarked could it be a pigeon? Babar brought attention of the bench towards tampering with the date and the Chief Justice observed that it appeared that it was written as March 25 and latter mentioned as March 24. The counsel said that Bhuttos appeal for audio recording of his statement was not accepted and thus he was deprived him of his right. He said from these documentary official evidences, it appeared correct that late ZAB was killed in custody before being hanged. Citing a portion of book written by late Benazir Bhutto, he said that she had also made a similar statement that his father was killed during custody. I firmly believe in her words because Benazir Bhutto cannot lie, he added. He said interestingly the endorsement for execution of death warrants were kept with the jail superintendent for three months and returned on July 31, 1979. Justice Muhammad Sair Ali remarked that three orders on the same date could not be possibly passed. Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja told Dr Babar that they had to see facts clinically and dispassionately and would have to arrive to a conclusion without relying on hypothesis. Justice Javed Iqbal told him that he should see whether provisions under Rules 63 of Jail Manuals were met. The Chief Justice observed that ZAB had a stature of international repute and certain things must be avoided which might go against his personality. He said that they knew it was not a case of an ordinary man but of Bhutto who was very well known to every child on street. We are aware of the Reference which has been sent from the President and we have to show respect to it by answering the questions, he added. Khawaja Haris, Advocate General Punjab, informed the court that the required record of first case of 1974 in which late ZAB was involved which consigned to record on basis of untraced evidences, could not be found.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:May 6, 2011
Words:670
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