Rawalpindi – The Rawalpindi Bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday approved bail pleas of the two ex-cops convicted in Benazir Bhutto murder case and ordered their immediate release.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC), announcing the decision of high-profile murder case on August 31, had handed 17-year prison terms each to former Superintendent of Police (SP) Rawalpindi Khurram Shahzad and ex-City Police Officer (CPO) Saud Aziz. Both cops were also slapped with a fine of Rs 1 million.
ATC had also acquitted five other accused in the case and declared another suspect; former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf, a proclaimed offender.
A division bench of LHC Rawalpindi Bench comprising Justice Habib Ullah and Justice Tariq Abbasi heard the bail of the bail applications of former police officers today.
Their former cops, in their application, stated that they were no way associated with former prime minister’s murder and the case against them was baseless.
The court granted approved the bail applications of former cops and directed them to submit surety bonds worth Rs0.2 million each.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) counsel Sardar Latif Khosa strongly opposed the release of the former police officers.
PPP had filed three appeals against ATC’s verdict on behalf of party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
The first appeal challenged the order to separate Musharraf’s trial, the second was against the ‘lenient’ sentences awarded to ex-police officers, and third was against the acquittal of the five suspects.
Benazir was killed in a gun and suicide attack after addressing a public rally Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh area on December 27, 2007.
Musharraf, in a statement issued on social media on September 21, had directly accused Zardari of being behind his wife’s murder.
“Asif Ali Zardari is responsible for the Bhutto family’s demise. He was involved in the deaths of Benazir and Murtaza Bhutto,” Musharraf had said, adding the PPP co-chairman was just one person who had everything to gain from Benazir’s assassination.”
“Zardari was in power for five years: why did he not look into the case? Why was the investigation not active? That is because he was involved in Benazir’s murder,” the former military further said.