Editorial : Why now? - Tuesday 29th March 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/29/why-now-2.html

WITH the federal cabinet`s approval on Monday for the review of the Bhutto murder case and the prime minister`s institution of a committee under the law minister to begin proceedings, the past has once again come to haunt the country. The fact remains that while the PPP`s wish to reopen a controversial case that saw the execution of its founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is very understandable, this is perhaps not the right time to do so — given the myriad challenges Pakistan faces on multiple fronts. In fact, few would disagree with the PPP that the country`s first elected prime minister was tried in controversial circumstances and that the verdict pronounced led to nothing short of the `judicial murder` the party claims it was. The term was, in fact, used in this context by Dorab Patel, one of Pakistan`s most eminent jurists.
The Supreme Court bench that heard the final appeal was short of two judges. In the seven-man bench, three judges acquitted Bhutto. Yet, in spite of the split decision, the military junta executed him, violating the pledges it had given to a number of foreign governments that it would not kill a man who, despite his many faults, was considered to be Pakistan`s most popular leader and credited with giving a voice to the downtrodden. A retrial, especially at a time when executive-judicial ties are under great strain, will merely add to the wounds of a nation already traumatised by terror. The way this government has bungled the Benazir Bhutto case should also make the PPP think twice. The best tribute the party can pay to its founder is to uphold his principles and follow his egalitarian philosophy in the formulation and implementation of its policies. ZAB should be allowed to rest in peace.

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