Z A Bhutto: Incomplete Justice

Will the judges remain in their ivory towers or see the reality of political injustice in Pakistan?

Faisal Siddiqi at Dawn: THE state-sponsored judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), a key founder of both mass democracy and constitutionalism in Pakistan, is a historical and legal fact which very few independent and fair observers will deny.

But the reality is that until March 6, 2024, the state institutions involved in the tragic episode were in official and judicial denial. The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC), in its opinion dated March 6, 2024 on Presidential Reference No.1 of 2011, has partially cleared this dark stain on the Pakistani state and its judicial institutions.

Incomplete justice for PPP: In order to provide justice to ZAB, there was a major constitutional and legal problem. ZAB’s appeal and review were dismissed by the SC and his death sentence had already been executed in 1979. In other words, once the SC decides a case finally on appeal or review then it has no constitutional power to review and set aside the judgement, i.e., the doctrine of finality of judgements.

But oddly, instead of taking the internationally recognised route of passing fresh legislation to review cases of injustices, like ZAB’s case, or invoking other legal remedies, the then PPP government filed Presidential Reference No.1 in 2011 to set aside the conviction and the death sentence awarded to ZAB… More here.