ISLAMABAD – An 11-member bench of the Supreme Court on Monday resumed hearing of a presidential reference about the trial of the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a murder case, directing Dr. Babar Awan to cite any judgment from within or outside Pakistan wherein a concluded case was reopened following such a reference.

 “If we accept that the entire ZAB case was a bad case, than quote any judgment in support of your arguments,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry asked the federation’s counsel.

 Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood  excused himself from becoming amicus curie in the reference and requested the court to  relieve him of the responsibility as a party in the case has reservations about him because of his previous association with the PPP.  The court granted the request.

The Chief Justice asked Babar Awan to cite an example where a closed case has been reopened on the question of bias, adding that in Mr. Bhutto’s case all stages of trial, appeal and review have been completed.

Dr Awan cited an Indian Supreme Court judgment in Ruppa Ashok case in support of his contention. He also gave reference of Asif Ali Zardari’s case and said in that case also the judges’ attitude was discriminatory and the element of bias was proven.

The Chief Justice said according to Ruppa Ashok judgment the aggrieved should come to the court and not the constitutional authority (President). The counsel said at some stage the court has to come up with a new decision. He said the courts have to rectify their mistakes.

Ahmed Raza Kasuri, who had lodged the FIR against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for allegedly murdering his father, told the bench that he was concerned over many amicus curiae, (friends of the court), particularly Tariq Mehmood and Aitzaz Ahsan for being diehard leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party.

Tariq Mehmood immediately withdrew himself from the team. However, Aitzaz Ahsan said he was a loyalist of the PPP, but would not separate himself from the team as he could assist the court without prejudice.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said people criticize the courts every day, still they hear the cases and provide justice to the people. He said in courtrooms judges do not have personal opinions.

Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said during the hearing that the late Chief Justice Anwar-ul-Haq’s son Aziz ullah has written a letter to become party to the case. He said for the sake of justice he would be afforded an opportunity to give his point of view.

The court ordered the office to give copies of the letter to the attorney general and all the amicus curiae.

Justice Tariq Pervaiz asked Babar Awan’s point of view about the four people who were executed along with Mr Bhutto, but the presidential reference was silent about them.

The court adjourned further hearing of the case till today due to the Full Court Reference on the demise of late Chief Justice Muhammad Afzal Zullah.