Benazir murder case: SC rejects plea challenging bail of accused

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Benazir murder case: SC rejects plea challenging bail of accused

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Friday rejected a plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to accused police officers Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa heard the appeal against the Lahore High Court decision of granting bail to former City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi Saud Aziz and former Superintendent of Police (SP) Khurram Shahzad in the case. 

On August 31, 2017, an anti-terrorism court of Rawalpindi had sentenced the two police officers for 17-year imprisonment for their negligence, However, the high court had later granted them bail.

During the course of proceedings, their counsel pleaded the SC to declare the petition ineffective following the death of petitioner Rashida Bibi, widow of Benazir’s security guard Akram Kaira, who had also been died in the 2007 Liaqat National Bagh blast.

The bench, however, rejected the request, when it was informed that on last hearing the daughter of Rashida Bibi had become a party in the case.

Sardar Latif Khosa, counsel for the petitioner, pleaded that the high court did not examine the facts before granting bail to the accused, whose release on bail was against the law and based on ill intentions.

He informed the court that both the officers had retained their jobs in the police force despite being nominated in the case, which had dragged on for over 10 years.

Latif Khosa said the accused, who even did not even conduct a postmortem of Benazir Bhutto in violation of the law, could be granted bail when they were sentenced to 17 years in prison by the ATC.

Musharraf, he said, was also accused in the case.

Justice Khosa remarked, "BBC produced a 10-series documentary report on the murder and conducted more investigations into it than our agencies. "

He said the court would have to consider the angle that whether innocent persons were being trapped in the case or not.

He said he was shocked when the accused washed the crime scene. He asked his friends what they were doing as doubts could never replace evidence.

Latif Khosa remarked that it was said saying that suspects were the favoured children of courts. The high court had dealt with the case like that of a theft case. For a decision the courts needed evidence, he added.

Khalid Ranjha, counsel of the police officers, said his clients were not named in the case initially. "Their names were added on November 13, 2010," he said.

Justice Khosa asked Ranjha, "Have the accused washed other crime scenes as well during their service?" Training was imparted to police officers to secure crime scenes, he added.

Subsequently, the bench rejected the plea.

APP