ISLAMABAD - Hearing a plea regarding the registration of second FIR in Benazir Bhutto murder case, the Supreme Court on Monday observed that Interior Minister Rehman Malik should dissociate himself from the official post till the completion of investigation, as he was among the accused mentioned by the applicant.

The court also questioned the deputy attorney general why the federal government had not published the United Nations (UN) investigation report, despite spending millions of dollars on it.

It noted though the party (PPP) of Benazir Bhutto was in power but they were opposing the registration of fresh FIR for further investigation. "The nation wants an answer about the murderers of its great leader," the court added.

A three-member bench - comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez - heard a plea filed by Chaudhry Aslam, former protocol officer of the ex-prime minister, seeking to lodge a second FIR in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Aslam sought the registration of FIR against 12 respondents, including former president Gen Musharraf, former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, former law minister Babar Awan, the then acting interior minister Lt-Gen (r) Hamid Nawaz), former director general of Intelligence Bureau Ijaz Hussain Shah, former interior secretary Syed Kamal Shah, former spokesman of interior ministry Brig (r) Javed Iqbal Cheema, former Rawalpindi DCO Irfan Elahi and the then SP.

The chief justice questioned how a fair investigation could be expected, when an accused person was sitting at the helm of affairs. He observed Rehman Malik should come to say that he was ready to disassociate himself from the official post and face the investigation.

The CJP also observed it was very sad that the government was making all efforts to block registration of a fresh FIR against Kamal Shah, Javed Cheema and others.

Earlier, the court was informed that two respondents - Rehman Malik and Pervaiz Elahi - had opposed the registration of second FIR.

In his para-wise comments, Rehman said there was no need to lodge a new FIR, as all the accused had already been arrested.

Anwar Mansoor Khan, the counsel for Rehman Malik, sought adjournment of hearing for a week on the ground that he wanted to file a reply.

He contended the applicant had moved application to hush up the BB murder case, adding that he wanted to submit some important documents, which had not been filed by Aslam.

Anwar further stated the applicant was not aggrieved person in the case; therefore fresh case could not be register on his application, but Justice Khilji Arif Hussain rejected his argument, saying the applicant was a worker of the PPP and an eyewitness of the December 27, 2007 incident.

Meanwhile, Rasheed A Rizvi stated that the government had not conducted investigations in view of UN report. He said that though the government is seeking court opinion on 40 years old matter (Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto murder case) but is not interested to reopen the BB murder case, which is fresh one.

Advocate on Record Mahmood A Sheikh told the bench Babar Awan was in India and he would engage his counsel after his return.

The court observed although the interior minister had filed the para-wise comments, but his counsel insisted submitting a fresh statement, adding that it would examine whether it would be permissible to accept Mansoor's request on the next date of hearing.

In view of the plea filed by Ahmad Awais, the counsel for Irfan Elahi, the court adjourned the hearing till April 24.