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Presidential reference draft is weak: SC

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) has remarked draft of presidential reference seeking revisiting of Bhutto case is weak and points of law have not been raised in right way.

A 3-member SC bench presided over by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took up the case for hearing Thursday.

CJP remarked if Bhutto case is revisited, it will become precedence and in the coming days request will come seeking review of execution case.

Babar Awan raised the questions in his arguments if the process of direct hearing of Bhutto case in high court was legal. If the law of approver is in line with Islamic shaair, If Bhutto was given the right to defend him in consonance with law. If continuing with the hearing by incomplete bench was justified. Was it not necessary to fill the vacant posts of judges? If the biased bench was legally authorized to hear the case and was it justified to execute Bhutto on the statement of one approver only”.

CJP remarked “we are not in any hurry in this case. We will give reply after deliberating over each word of reference and constitution. Replies to the questions will be given in accordance with law”.

Court directed Babar Awan to prepare all the questions and present them to it about which opinion has been sought from SC under article 186.

Babar Awan cited to references from the books of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Justice (Retd) Nasim Hassan Shah and read out presidential reference.

He argued Bhutto wanted to contest case like a common man. A dictator took Bhutto into custody on November, 3, 1977. Case against Bhutto was finalized on the night of July, 30, 1978. At that time country was running without constitution like November, 3, 2007. 3 judges gave dissent notes.

Babar Awan said president signed the presidential reference before the people. Federal cabinet accorded approval on March, 28 to send reference and later prime minister gave advice to president.

CJP said there were three decisions with reference to Bhutto case including SC decision, Lahore High Court decision and review petition. Federation should make it clear on what decision it wanted to seek opinion, CJP inquired.

Justice Sair Ali remarked “ You should see the advice given by the prime minister. Specific questions have not been raised. Questions should be made clear. There is error in this reference”.

“We are not in hurry. Rest assured. We will take amicus curiae from all the provinces. Larger bench will be constituted. We will hear the reference in details”, CJP observed.

The hearing has been adjourned till April 18.



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