ATC verdict in Benazir assassination case: No need for permission to make probe reports public
RAWALPINDI, Dec 5: An anti-terrorism court allowed the federal government on Wednesday to make public the judicial proceedings and investigation reports on the Benazir Bhutto murder case.
ATC judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman issued the order while disposing of an application filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) seeking permission to publicise the judicial record and investigation reports of a joint team constituted to
investigate the case.
“In my opinion, the federal government does not require specific permission of this court to do the needful and the petition is disposed of with the direction that the government should proceed with (the matter) in accordance with the law,” the judge said.
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government had completed the investigation process and filed a challan in the court whose permission was required to make public the record relating to the case. According to him, the investigation
document is “very important” because people want to know who were behind the assassination.
FIA’s special public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali appeared before the ATC judge on Wednesday and said the government needed the permission because it wanted to apprise the nation of the progress in the case. “The people of Pakistan also want to know what progress has been made in the case since the assassination of the twice-elected prime minister on Dec 27, 2007.”
He said that because of its sensitive nature the trial of the accused in the Benazir murder case was conducted in Adiyala Jail.
Mr Ali told Dawn that the investigation documents would help explain the reasons for the delay in concluding the judicial proceedings which had been adjourned on a number of occasions.
Senior lawyer and PML-N Senator Zafar Ali Shah said the government wanted to get political mileage by making public the documents on Benazir murder case.
“After the assassination of Ms Bhutto, the Pakistan People’s Party got sympathy votes in the 2008 elections and it is quite possible that the government this time wants to use the case in its campaign for the coming general election,” he said.
He pointed out that the investigation reports had been compiled by the departments working under the control of the federal government. The reports had been with the government for a number of years and it had never been stopped by any court to make them public, he added.