NA resolution demands overturning Supreme Court's 1979 verdict in ZA Bhutto case

“Conviction of Shaheed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a gross miscarriage of justice,” says resolution

Asif Bashir Chaudhary
PPPs Shazia Marri addressing the National Assembly on March 13, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTubbe/PTVParliament
PPP's Shazia Marri addressing the National Assembly on March 13, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTubbe/PTVParliament

  • Bhutto's conviction gross miscarriage of justice, says resolution.
  • It demands declaring him martyr, national democratic hero.
  • He was hanged in 1979 after trial under military regime of Zia.

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly passed a resolution Wednesday demanding the overturning of the death sentence given to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a former prime minister and founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The demand was made in light of a recent Supreme Court's opinion which ruled that former prime Bhutto, who was hanged 44 years ago after being convicted of murder, didn't get a fair trial.

Bhutto was hanged in 1979 after a trial under the military regime of late General Zia-ul-Haq. "We didn't find that the fair trial and due process requirements were met," said incumbent Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

The ruling came in response to a judicial reference filed by President Asif Ali Zardari, during his tenure as the head of state in 2011. It sought an opinion by the top court on revisiting the death sentence awarded to the PPP founder.

All three provincial assemblies except the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — where the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is in power — and the Senate have passed resolutions declaring Bhutto a national hero and martyr.

The resolution, adopted by the National Assembly in today’s session and moved by PPP's Shazia Marri, recognised the trial and subsequent conviction of Bhutto as a “gross miscarriage of justice”.

“Salutes the struggles of Begum Nusrat Bhutto Sahiba, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and the Pakistan Peoples Party workers who sacrificed their lives to establish this truth,” the resolution added.

The NA also appreciated the determination of President Zardari who filed the presidential reference to reopen the case 12 years ago and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who “single mindedly pursued it”.

The resolution lauded the Supreme Court of Pakistan for finally holding and accepting the glaring injustice meted out to Bhutto 44 years ago in its judgment. It mentioned that the proceedings of the trial by the Lahore High Court and of the appeal by the Supreme Court do not meet the requirements of the fundamental right to a fair trial and due process.

It demanded that in light of this historic judgment, the unjust verdict given in the Bhutto case must be overturned.

Further demanded that the federal government officially declare Bhutto as a "shaheed" and "National Democratic Hero," and establish the "Nishan-e-Zulfikar Ali Bhutto" award for workers and activists who have fought and sacrificed their lives for true democracy in Pakistan.