Hearing in Murtaza Bhutto case adjourned
By AR Qureshi
KARACHI: Since the prosecutor, the district attorney east, was absent, a hearing on Saturday in the murder case of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and his seven men was adjourned till August 16 when the case trial came before Additional District and Sessions Judge East Abdul Rehman Bhatti.
All the accused whose presence was not condoned were present including SP Shakaib Qureshi, who emerged from a long period of hiding only a month ago. Qureshi disappeared soon after the September 20, 1996, incident and remained underground till June 2008 when he appeared before the trial court and was admitted to interim bail today against a solvent surety of Rs 200,000.
The hearing was about the alleged murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, the chief of his own faction of the PPP (the Shaheed Bhutto group), party Senior Vice President Ashique Hussain Jatoi and six other party men from the student wing who were on security duty. Bhutto and his men died in an alleged shoot out with the Karachi Police barely a few yards away from 70, Clifton, the ancestral residence of the Bhuttos.
The accused in this case include then CCPO Dr Shoaib Suddle, former SSP Wajid Ali Durrani, SP Shakaib Qureshi, ASPs Shahid Hayat and Rai Tahir, SHOs Haq Nawaz Siyal, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Agha Tariq and Zeeshan Kazmi and more than a dozen police officials ranking from SI to police constable. The list also includes Asif Ali Zardari and former IB Director Masood Sharif.
The case has awaited trial since 1996 and is yet to move ahead from the stage of preliminary evidence as so far prosecution witnesses have only been examined to the extent of finding conspiracy.
Asif Ali Zardari was acquitted and absolved of charges by a bench of the Sindh High Court
, which was deciding a criminal revision application that Zardari filed. If proved, the charges carry a death penalty to the remaining accused, who are still facing trial before the sessions court.