RAWALPINDI - The trial court on Tuesday laid down its verdict to restart the Benazir Bhutto (BB) assassination case by rebuffing the application of PPP Secretary General Sardar Latif Khan Khosa Advocate who urged the court not to start hearing the case afresh.
Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Rawalpindi Number 1 Special Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman gave the verdict. The court had reserved the judgment on last date of hearing, on the petition filed by Khosa who urged the court not to restart the trial by re-recording the statements of the witnesses.
However, the judge said that statements of the 27 accused had been recorded in the absence of Pervez Musharraf, the eighth accused. He said that the court considered it Musharraf’s legal right that statements of the witnesses should be recorded in his presence.
In his arguments, Khosa said that how could the trail be started from zero, saying, “Statement of the witness should be re-recorded if the defense has any objection over his statement but restarting the trial will waste time and the case will be prolonged for another five years.”
FIA Special Public Prosecutor Chadhry Azhar Ali also supported Khosa’s point of view and said the restart of trial would tantamount to further delay in the case.
Ilyas Siddiqui Advcoate, the Musharraf’s lawyer, on last hearing had urged the court to re-record statements of the witnesses it were record in his absentia. “He was abroad when the statements were recorded. It is Musharraf’s legal right that statement of witnesses should be record in front of him,” he said.
The FIA prosecutor said that Musharraf wanted to delay the hearing. He said the witnesses were convinced with much difficulty and recording their statements will disappoint them.