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SC verdict on Bhutto reference will enable democracy to progress: Bilawal

SC verdict on Bhutto reference will enable democracy to progress: Bilawal

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SC verdict on Bhutto reference will enable democracy to progress: Bilawal

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto on Wednesday said the historic verdict passed by the Supreme Court on the Bhutto reference would help Pakistan progress on all fronts, including the democratic system and judiciary. 

History is set to be corrected after 44 years, the PPP chairman remarked, as he pointed to the fact that Bhutto was hanged decades ago on April 4, 1979 and his family as well as the party have been describing the move as judicial murder since then.

Talking to reporters after a nine-member bench shared its verdict, Bilawal – the grandson of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was the first elected prime minister of Pakistan – said the court had accepted that Bhutto didn’t get a fair trial.

He noted that it was difficult for ordinary people to trust the judicial system when a popular leader like Bhutto couldn’t get justice.

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Bilawal, during a short interaction with media persons, thanked the amicus curiae appointed by the court and the lawyers who presented their opinion and argued the case.

As the Supreme Court announced a unanimous short verdict, Chief Justice Faez Isa observed that no correction was possible without admitting the mistakes committed in the past. Some of the judgements were a product of fear or favour, he said. 

JUDICIAL MURDER

Bhutto was arrested on the charges of conspiring to murder a political opponent two months after his ouster from the office and declared guilty in 1978 by the Lahore High Court (LHC). His appeal in the Supreme Court was then dismissed with a 4-3 verdict in February 1979.

The case pertained to the murder of Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan Kasuri in March 1974 as their car was ambushed. His son Ahmed Raza Kasuri, who escaped the attack, had claimed that he was the actual target of the murder plot orchestrated by the then prime minister.

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The trial both in the LHC and the Supreme Court has always remained controversial because the way it was conducted as well as the procedural flaws. Result? It has never been cited again as a precedent in any subsequent case in Pakistan.

THE REFERENCE

It was the then president Asif Ali Zardari who had moved the country’s top court on April 2, 2011, through a presidential reference under Article 186 of the Constitution to seek its opinion on revisiting the trial which had culminated with the hanging of Bhutto on April 4, 1979.

Bhutto was removed after a military coup led by the then army chief Ziaul Haq on July 5, 1977, which followed a months-long agitation, as the PNA – Pakistan National Alliance – disputed the results of rigged elections earlier that year in March.

The PNA was an alliance of nine-opposition parties – including JI (Jamaat-e-Islami) and Tehreek-e-Istiqlal of late Asghar Khan – formed as Bhutto eyed a two-thirds majority for introducing amendments to the 1973 Constitution.

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Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

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Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while expressing concerns over the dismal state of governance and democratic institutions, stressed the importance of fostering political cooperation among opposition parties on Wednesday.

Fazl, during a meeting with a PTI delegation, highlighted the urgency of collective action among opposition parties to address the challenges of what he described as a decline in democracy, waning relevance of parliament and the diminishing significance of the constitution.

Speaking to media alongside PTI leaders Omar Ayub and Asad Qaiser after the meeting, Fazl emphasised the need for political cooperation among opposition parties, noting that there was no disagreement on that.

He underscored the necessity of dialogue in today’s environment to eliminate bitterness, stating, “If we cannot end differences, we can soften attitudes.”

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Expressing similar views, Omar Ayub, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, said they had a useful conversation with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who welcomed them wholeheartedly. He affirmed that these talks would continue in the future.

Ayub vowed to stand for the supremacy of the constitution, announcing that their meetings and conventions would be held all over Pakistan.

Ayub highlighted the link between democracy and investment, asserting that investment would only come when democracy flourishes.

He also condemned the recent police attack on the party secretariat.

Addressing the media, PTI leader Asad Qaiser said the country had assumed the form of a public limited company now.

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He said that during the meeting with the JUI-F chief, they also discussed the wheat crisis issue in Punjab.

Qaiser emphasised the need for opposition parties to unite for the supremacy of the constitution and law, observing that the prevailing law of the jungle in the country must end.

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Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

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Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

Imran Khan, the incarcerated founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has filed a request with the Supreme Court seeking personal appearance in connection with the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance 1999 amendment case, it is learned.

According to details, the former prime minister has addressed the letter to Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa requesting permission for personal appearance on the next hearing on May 30.

Khan put his signatures on the letter and gave it to the Adiala Jail administration for submission to the apex court.

The court had, during the previous hearing on May 17, issued orders for presenting the PTI founder through video link on the next hearing scheduled for May 30.

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The PTI founder did not get an opportunity to advance arguments during the proceedings on May 17.

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CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

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CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has paid a surprise visit to the Holy Family Hospital here.

The chief minister visited various wards of the hospital, interacted with patients, inquired about the facilities and provision of medicines at the hospital.

Chief Minister Maryam expressed anger at low wages of labourers working at under-construction block of the hospital and directed the authorities concerned to raise their wages as per the law.

Later, she was briefed about the revamping project of the Hospital. She directed the hospital administration to complete construction of new block by June end. 

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