In a significant move, the Supreme Court (SC) of Islamabad established a three-member committee on Saturday to determine the live telecast fate of the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) reference. This reference, filed by former president Asif Ali Zardari in 2011, challenges the controversial 1979 death sentence imposed on former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and is scheduled for a much-anticipated hearing on December 12.
Nine-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa will hear the case on December 12. Other members of the bench include justices Sardar Tariq Masood, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Yahya Afridi, Amin-ud-Din Khan, Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Musarrat Hilali.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari initiated legal proceedings on April 2, 2011, by submitting a presidential reference to the apex court, seeking its opinion on revisiting the trial of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto faced a death sentence during the regime of former military ruler General (retired) Ziaul Haq, charged with the murder of political rival Nawab Mohammed Ahmed Qasuri.
The impending ZAB reference has garnered widespread attention, revisiting a chapter of Pakistan’s history marked by political turbulence and international scrutiny. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s execution on April 4, 1979, amid petitions and appeals for clemency, remains a contentious issue, with the Pakistan People’s Party persistently advocating for the declaration of Bhutto’s execution as ‘judicial murder.’