ATC gets 3 months to complete BB case trial
RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court directed an anti-terrorism court on Wednesday to complete the Benazir Bhutto murder case trial in three months.
The Rawalpindi bench of LHC comprising Justice Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ali Baqir Najafi asked the ATC to conduct day-to-day proceedings and submit a report of its verdict to the LHC registrar office in three months.
The court issued the order on a petition filed by the FIA on Jan 5. The FIA had earlier filed three petitions for daily trial and the LHC had directed the ATC for expeditious disposal of the case.
FIA special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali said that under Subsection 7 of Section 19 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, the ATC was bound to decide a case within a month.
He pointed out that the ATC had decided a case about the killing of a civilian by a Rangers official in Karachi in a month and the Salman Taseer assassination case was decided in six months, but the Benazir murder case had been pending for adjudication since December 2007.
He also produced a letter of LHC Administrative Judge Manzoor Ahmed Malik in which all ATCs in Punjab had been directed to dispose of all terrorism cases in accordance with Subsection 7 of Section 19 of the ATA.
The ATCs were also asked not to allow more than two consecutive adjournments during the trial of the case.
The FIA prosecutor pointed out that the LHC had at least three times ordered the ATC to decide the BB murder case expeditiously, but the trial court always dismissed the prosecution plea for day-to-day trial because of workload and engagements of defence lawyers.—Malik Asad