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Pakistan: PPP bats for late ex-President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's image on currency notes

The PPP called for declaring Zulfikar Ali Bhutto a national hero and dedicate a monument in his honour. This came months after Pakistan's Supreme Court observed that the late ex-President was was not given a fair trial and due process in 1979 when he was sentenced to death.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Lahore Published on: May 13, 2024 15:19 IST
Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Image Source : ANI Former Pakistan PM and President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Lahore: The Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) on Sunday adopted a resolution demanding the federal government to declare the late former President and party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto a national democratic hero and feature his image on currency notes, according to local media reports. The resolution was passed during a seminar titled 'Bhutto Reference and History', discussing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's reference.

This came over two months after Pakistan's Supreme Court observed that former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was not given a fair trial and due process in 1979 when he was sentenced to death by a seven-judge bench of the apex court during the regime of military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq, who had overthrown the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in July 1977.

Lauding the Supreme Court's admission, the resolution demanded the federal government to confer the title of "Quaid-e-Awam" (Leader of the People) upon him, and award him the highest civilian honour, Nishan-e-Pakistan. The resolution also called for the construction of a befitting monument in the ex-PM's honour and the declaration of his mausoleum as a national shrine.

Furthermore, it calls for the reversal of the unjust death sentence handed down to Bhutto and the establishment of a "Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Award" for democracy activists who have sacrificed their lives for the cause. Pakistan's National Assembly passed a resolution in March declaring Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's infamous 1979 trial as judicial murder.

Pakistan SC on Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's trial

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's execution is the only instance in Pakistan's history where a former PM was hanged. One of the most popular leaders of the country, Zulfikar was removed from power by his handpicked army chief Zia, and was accused of masterminding the murder of a political rival Ahmed Reza Kasuri, a founding member of the PPP. The trial was controversial as many legal experts and observers termed it flawed.

In March 1979, the Supreme Court bench, in a split four-three verdict, upheld the Lahore High Court’s verdict awarding a death sentence to the former premier, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi on April 4, 1979. The case was revived after former president Asif Ali Zardari filed a presidential reference with the Supreme Court on April 2, 2011, to seek an opinion on revisiting the death sentence, Dawn reported. 

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, a nine-judge bench unanimously observed that the conditions of a fair trial were not met in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's trial. "The proceedings of the trial by the Lahore High Court and of the appeal by the Supreme Court of Pakistan do not meet the requirements of the fundamental right to a fair trial and due process enshrined in Articles 4 and 9 of the Constitution, and later guaranteed as a separate and fundamental right under Article 10A of the Constitution," Isa said.

However, the apex court said the verdict of Zulfikar's death sentence could not be changed as the Constitution and law did not allow so, and it would be maintained as a verdict. Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Zulfikar's grandson, solemnly stood alongside his lawyer at the court, wearing a clad in a black salwar kameez and dark blue jacket. The PPP chairman called the court’s decision “historic”, adding that they were awaiting the detailed verdict.

(with inputs from ANI)

ALSO READ | Pakistan's SC says former PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto 'not given fair trial' in 1979 death sentence

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