ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday decided to take up the reference filed by the federation under Article 186 of the Constitution for revisiting Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto case on December 12. President Asif Ali Zardari two days ago had written a letter to the Chief Justice, requesting him for early hearing of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto reference, which is pending in the apex court since June last. The federal government, in April this year, had filed the reference to reopen case of former prime minister and founder of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was hanged on April 4, 1979, in Rawalpindi. The Pakistan People Party has always termed the hanging of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as judicial murder. The government had filed the reference, reported as PLD 1979 SC pages 38-53, through Federal Law Secretary Masood Chishti. President Asif Ali Zardari had forwarded the reference to the SC under clause 1 and 2 of Article 186 of the Constitution for revisiting the case of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Clause 1 of the Article 186 states: If, at any time, the President considers that it is desirable to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court on any question of law which he considers of public importance, he may refer the question to the Supreme Court for consideration, while clause 2 says; The Supreme Court shall consider a question so referred and report its opinion on the question to the President. Like the review petition on NRO, Babar Awan, who has represented the federation, failed to satisfy the court on the question of law in reference. The court has so far inquired from Babar Awan whether all the questions mentioned in the reference were the questions of law? Whether the bias and violation of fundamental rights were the questions of law? The court has noted that conclusion drawn from the facts is not the questions of law. On June 29, 2011, the hearing was adjourned till July, after the retirement of Justice Javed Iqbal on 1st August, Justice MA Shahid Siddique on 13th October, and adhoc judge Ghulam Rabbani on 20th October the reference could not be taken up. But after the appointment of four judges, 17-member bench has been completed. This case was earlier fixed before the Court on various dates during April to June 2011. On April 21, the learned bench of three judges presided over by the Chief Justice directed to constitute a larger bench and accordingly a larger bench was constituted. In view of the importance of the presidential reference, senior advocates/jurists, M/s Ali Ahmed Kurd, Tariq Mehmood, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Khalid Anwar, Makhdoom Ali Khan, SM Zafar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Zahoorul Haq, Qazi Muhammad Ashraf, and Abdul Latif Afridi were appointed as amicus curiae. The 17-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, now comprise Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Amir Hani Muslim. Learned counsel for the parties as well as learned amicus curiae have been requested to ensure their presence for the case as it is likely to proceed on day-to-day basis from December 12-16, 2011 as the court will take a break for winter vacations from December 19-31. Notices to all concerned, including incumbent President Supreme Court Bar Association, have been issued. Advocate General Punjab, Khawaja Haris informed the court that private complaints of Ahmed Raza Kasuri could not be traced, but the efforts were underway to find them.