ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has fixed the hearing of presidential reference seeking revisiting of the death sentence given to former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for November 12.
A nine-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, will resume the hearing of ZA Bhutto reference case after over 10 months. The same bench will also take up the memo case on Monday.
On January 17, the court had stopped the Bhutto reference case proceedings after suspending the practicing licence of the government’s former lawyer Babar Awan for criticising the court’s order in the memo case. Now, the government has engaged Aitzaz Ahsan as its new counsel in this case.
The court has also fixed Babar Awan’s application for restoring his law licence in the next week.
Babar Awan had already tendered an unconditional apology in this regard. A lawyer close to Babar Awan said due to the suspension of his practicing licence, Awan was facing immense financial difficulties.
On April 2, 2011, President Asif Ali Zardari approached the SC through a presidential reference under Article 186 of the constitution to seek its opinion on revisiting Bhutto’s murder trial.
The court had appointed 10 amicus curiae on April 21, including Ali Ahmed Kurd, Tariq Mehmood, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Khalid Anwar, Makhdoom Ali Khan, SM Zafar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Zahoorul Haq and Abdul Latif Afridi. Later, some of them expressed inability to assist the court due to various reasons. The court on December 11 issued a notice to Ahmed Raza Kasuri to ensure a fair trial in the ZAB reference case.