Babar Awan resigns to plead Bhutto case

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan presented his resignation to the Supreme Court on Wednesday during the hearing of reopening of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s trial.

“I prioritize the case over the ministry,” Babar replied to Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry when asked why he (Awan) couldn’t pursue the case as a minister.

Earlier, a three member bench headed by Chief Justice Supreme Court, Iftikhar Chaudhry when started hearing of the case the minister sought permission to argue but the court refused by saying that being Law Minister you cannot be allowed to do so. Babar Awan then presented his resignation as a federal minister before the Supreme Court.

Chief justice appreciated the move by the senior PPP leader and remarked the gesture as “historic.” The CJ also directed Babar Awan to submit his resignation before the competent authorities in an appropriate manner.

“We all are serious and giving this case great importance,” CJP Chaudhry said. Keeping in view the importance of the case, the CJP remarked that a larger bench would also be constituted, besides hiring services of advisors.

Several Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders including Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira, Nayyar Bukhari, Raja Parvez Ashraf, et cetera, were present in court. The court has adjourned the hearing till Thursday.

Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s Senator Nayyar Bukhari also appreciated the gesture from the law minister and said that Awan has fulfilled the judicial requirements by resigning from his post.

The apex Court bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani will deal with one of the decision frequently termed by a large section of political stalwarts, jurists and civil society members as “judicial murder” of one of the most popular leader of the country.

“My arguments are based on facts, not sentiments,” said Awan while talking to media men outside the Court. “Even I was the Prime Minister I would have resigned. I will not speak in the Supreme Court but Bhutto will speak, he added.

He went on to say that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) wanted to remove a slur from law and judiciary and for the purpose it filed a reference for a review of the judicial murder case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed.

He thanked President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani for electing him as a lawyer to pursue the case in the apex court. All the dictators are same but their faces are different, he said.

We were pleading for last 32 years but today our voice has been heard, he said. Punjab Bar Council, he said, has renewed his license and he would appear before the court as a lawyer today (Thursday).

We will come out to the expectations of court, he said. Injustice was done with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, he remarked.

An effort is on to re-examine the death sentence meted out to Bhutto who was ousted from power in a military putsch in 1977.

He was hanged two years later April 4, 1979, when the country was ruled by General Zia-ul Haq.

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