Apex court forms panel to decide on live telecast of ZAB reference

ZAB reference

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) took a significant step on Saturday by establishing a three-member committee tasked with deciding the fate of the live telecast of the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) reference, filed by former president Asif Ali Zardari in 2011.

This development precedes the much-anticipated hearing of a long-pending presidential reference challenging the controversial 1979 death sentence imposed on former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, scheduled for December 12.

Chaired by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, the nine-member larger bench, including 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, will delve into the intricate details of the historic case.

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Former president Asif Ali Zardari initiated the legal proceedings on April 2, 2011, submitting a presidential reference to the apex court, seeking its opinion on revisiting the trial of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder.

Bhutto had 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 drawn widespread attention, as it revisits 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.'”

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