The raging controversy that is being generated by the Government’s reference to the Supreme Court to revisit the ZAB trial evidences at least one fact, namely that the forces that ousted and murdered Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto are still all powerful and have the ability to cloud the judgment of even those who stand for justice and rule of law. They succeed in miring a question that has nothing to do with the PPP or the person of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the murky waters of petty politics.
The ZAB trial is a blot on the fair name of the judiciary but also on the fair name of all those who espouse justice and rule of law. It is above all a blot on the fair name of the legal fraternity who more than anybody else has the obligation to strive for correcting the wrong that was perpetrated-not because one loves or hates Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto but because this one case alone epitomizes the greatest and most blatant miscarriage of justice and evidences the mother of all conspiracies. The case ostensibly hinged around a conspiracy to murder a non entity but the trial in fact was in itself a conspiracy to eliminate one of the greatest sons of this soil.
We owe it to posterity to expose the conspiracy and it is for this reason that it is imperative that this trial be revisited and it is for this reason too that those who oppose the idea do not want it re-visited.
The fact that the people of this country have again and again reposed confidence in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and have against all odds voted for his party is manifest evidence of the fact that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto stands exonerated in the court of the people. The fact that the judgment is not cited or accepted as a precedent before or by any court of law in Pakistan is a manifest evidence of the rejection of the judgment by the legal fraternity and judiciary. The fact that a judge who convicted Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and assisted in sending an innocent man to the gallows has deemed it fit to cleanse his soul and admit to wrongdoing is a manifest evidence of the fact that injustice of the gravest order was perpetrated.
But is any of the foregoing a good enough reason that the conspiracy to eliminate Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto should not be unveiled and the annals of history not be cleansed to bury forever the alleged conspiracy that never existed and on the basis of which a sordid military dictator aided by his cabal of generals, time serving judges, spineless bureaucracy, venal politicians and the vengeful Bhutto hating elite of this country aided and abetted in the murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
That the modus operandi used by the Government to initiate this action is wrong or mala fide is another issue-what better could have been expected of the legal team that advises the Government, most of them were themselves part of the Bhutto hating brigade but that too does not justify opposition to the quest for revisiting of the ZAB trial.
Amna Paracha was Begum Nusrat Bhutto’s political secretary through the ZAB trial. Her husband (late) Saleem Zulfiqar Khan was on the original defence bench. Mr Khan was a close confidant of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and worked closely with her for two decades in the drafting of legal briefs on various issues and also assisting in managing the PPP’s finances.