The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Thursday ordered that the record in the Benazir Bhutto murder case be provided to the court by the end of November, after it approved PPP-Parliamentarian’s President Asif Ali Zardari’s three appeals against the verdict given by the Anti-Terrorism Court in August.
An LHC bench — comprising Justice Mohammad Tariq Abbasi and Justice Habib Amirullah — will then start the proceedings regarding the appeals from November 27.
On September 18, the former president challenged the Anti-Terrorism Court verdict of Aug 31, while seeking the death penalty for retired Gen Pervez Musharraf and two senior police officers, who were sentenced to 17 years in prison in connection with Bhutto’s murder.
Last month, ATC Judge Asghar Ali Khan had acquitted five alleged suspects affiliated with the banned the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, but convicted police officers Saud Aziz and Khurram Shehzad for criminal negligence.
Former president Musharraf was also declared a proclaimed offender and his movable and immovable properties were ordered to be confiscated.
In three appeals, filed through his counsel Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari and Sardar Latif Khosa, Zardari has challenged the acquittal of the five TTP suspects — Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Rashid Ahmed and Aitzaz Shah. A second appeal objects to the 17-year prison term awarded to Saud Aziz and Khurram Shehzad, while the third asks why the ATC judge separated the case of Gen Musharraf, when 68 witnesses — including US lobbyist Mark Siegel — had testified in the matter a couple of years ago.