ISLAMABAD - PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday moved an application in the Supreme Court requesting it to implead him as a party in a reference by former President Asif Ali Zardari to re-visit the case of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto wherein he was executed.

Bilawal in his application contended that his grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s death sentence and execution was a blot not just on the history of his family but a wretched stain on the entire judicial system of Pakistan and refusing to reconsider the case would be oppressive to judicial conscience and would cause perpetuity of injustice.

PPP Founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was awarded death penalty by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 1979 in a murder case during the dictatorship of then military ruler General Zia Ul Haq. The apex court then also had upheld the LHC decision.

After the former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Dr Nasim Hasan Shah’s acknowledgement terming Bhutto’s conviction as Judicial Murder, the opinion over instant Reference could set an example in the country’s judicial and national history by redressing the issue.

To wash such stain, on April 2, 2011 the PPP regime had sent a Presidential Reference under Article 186 by then president Asif Ali Zardari seeking reopening of Bhutto’s case and murder trial.

However, the case has been pending in the top court despite the passage of more than 7 years.

Bilawal in his application contends that the instant case regarding Bhutto will prove to be a test case for those oppressed and ones suffering from the fallacies of the justice system.

“It is a blot not just on the history of the family but a wretched stain on the entire judicial system of Pakistan and remains so till date. It is in order to remove this stain and correct the wrong in history that the applicant preferred the instant application for impleadment as a party,” Bilawal stated in his application filed through his counsel Advocate Farooq H. Naek.

Bilawal in his application states that he does not claim any monetary compensation adding, “the compensation for him lies in the correction of Pakistan’s history.”

The grandson of Bhutto, who considers the Supreme Court as a ‘crime scene’ of his grandfather’s murder, feels that if miscarriage of justice is rectified and due care and diligence is exercised while dispensing justice then victory will be of the people of democracy and of judicial system.

“Throughout his life Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto wanted to uphold the rule of law. His motto of ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’ was a testament to his yearning that every man gets his fair due. It was a loud cry echoing the chords of justice, that “Let justice be done though the heavens may fall”. The passion of the applicant’s grandfather however, did not derail the irony that was to befall him,” Bilawal stated.

Bilawal further argues that his grandfather was charged and convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, sentenced and executed on the testimony of an approver in the greatest miscarriage of justice that was ever to befall this country.

“Bhutto was hanged but his ideology remained,” he says, adding that he wants to apprise the top court to material facts which led to the unjust and brutal murder of his late grandfather.

“The applicant (Bilawal) has seen the worst of his life. His grandfather was hanged; both his paternal uncles were murdered. His mother, whose lap was God’s cradle for him, was martyred in a gun and bomb attack while displaying her passion to help the people of Pakistan,” the application reads.

“It is pertinent to mention that justice has not been dispensed in any of the cases above,” Bilawal laments.

It is a case of judicial execution, a case where law was trampled under the treacherous boots of a dictator who had suspended the constitution at his will and whim, it adds.

“More recently one of the justices on the bench namely Justice (r) Nasim Hassan Shah following the voice of his conscience, admitted publicly that the decision of Bhutto’s appeal was under undue influence and grave coercion.”

“In the light of this blatant admission, the judicial consciousness of the entire country demands that the error made should be rectified. An innocent man’s dignity who is wrongly convicted of a brutal crime be restored even after his death.”

The application further states that the applicant is believer in this judiciary and believes that the fountain of justice flows from the ink of the Judge.

“Wherever there is blatant injustice such as in the instant case, the principle of finality must remain subservient to that of ensuring justice,” he adds.

There is an advent of criminal review commissions in England, Scotland and most of Europe in line with conventions on human rights. In the United States there is the Innocent Protection Act and in our neighbouring country India, there is now the ever evolving concept of curative petitions.

“All of the above are instruments for rectifying wrongs that have been committed to persons wrongly convicted of offences that they are innocent of. There is no reason why such a noble trend ought not to be accepted in the Pakistani jurisprudence with open arms and measures to taken and adopted in furtherance of provision of justice to the wrongly convicted.” 

“The legal systems of the world are now recognizing that they are not perfect. This perhaps is even more applicable to the legal system in Pakistan, where the poor and needy lack efficient legal representation and the rich and powerful dominate through their influence and power.”