The following news items in today's newspapers can help us solve the puzzle:
SC clarifies report on Zardari’s cases
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday clarified reports that said two cases of President Asif Ali Zardari were placed in a cause list issued in August for hearing on November 16-17. In a press statement, the court said the cases related to the year 1998-99 and were being processed according to routine. One of the cases related to the transfer of a case from one court to another, while the other was filed against an order of the Sindh High Court, wherein the court ordered the release of the property of an appellant. The court said both cases were old and publication of reports in a section of the press should not create any misunderstanding. staff report
PML-N pressured me to become ‘approver’ against Chaudhrys: Hamesh
LAHORE: Former president of the Bank of Punjab (BoP) Hamesh Khan has claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz pressed him to become an ‘approver’ against the Chaudhrys of Gujrat but he refused, a private TV channel reported on Wednesday. Hamesh said the Punjab government assured him that no action would be taken against him if he became an ‘approver’. He said that he had decided to leave the country to avoid becoming a political victim. daily times monitor
Murtaza Bhutto murder case: I was forced to become approver against Zardari: Suddle
Thursday, November 12, 2009
By Shamim Bano
Nineteen accused in the murder case of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and six of his comrades denied charges levelled against them and proclaimed their innocence.
Shoaib Suddle, the then Director Intelligence Bureau and presently the Federal Tax Ombudsman, said that the prosecution witnesses testified against him as the then government exerted immense pressure on him to become an approver against Asif Ali Zardari, which he refused.
Former IB chief Masood Sharif and Shoaib Suddle appeared in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge East-I Aftab Ahmed Khan along with 17 other accused and recorded their statements under Section 342 on Wednesday.
Suddle and Sharif, who were exempted from personal appearance, appeared in the court for the second time in 13 years.
They had earlier appeared in the court in 1997, a year after the incident took place.
Rai Tahir and Abdul Basit, who were exempted from personal appearance, also recorded their statements before the judge.
A written questioner was prepared by the court that pertained to three points; the accused hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Mir Murtaza Bhutto and his six comrades; secondly, they all had common intention to fire on the motorcade of Mir Murtaza Bhutto; and thirdly, they ordered their juniors to open fire on the motorcade of Murtaza Bhutto and his associates.
In the shootout, Bhutto was killed along with Aashiq Jatoi, Wajahat Jokhio, Sajjad Ghakro, Bachal Ujan, Yar Mohamamd Baloch, Rahim Brohi, and Sattar Rajpur while Dr Mazhar Memon, Asghar Ali and Ayaz Dayo sustained injuries.
Asif Ali Zardari and Shakaib Qureshi have already been acquitted from the charges. The rest of the accused include former chief minister late Abdullah Shah, late Zeeshan Kazmi, Shoaib Suddle, Masood Sharif, Wajid Ali Durrani, Shahid Hayat, Rai Mohammed Tahir, Agha Jamil, Shabbir Qaim Khani and Abdul Basit.
All the accused, however, denied charges, saying, they were falsely implicated in the case and they prayed the court to acquit them of all charges. When asked by the judge as to why the prosecution witnesses gave evidence against them, they replied that they gave false proofs on the instigation of the complainant party.
The judge asked the accused if they would record their statements on oath, to which all replied in negative, saying that they wouldn’t do so since there was no evidence against them. They also deposed that they did not give any instructions to any of the police personnel to open fire on the motorcade of Mir Murtaza Bhutto.
Clarifying as to why the PWs testified against him, Shoib Suddle said that four days before the incident i.e. on September 16 (1996), Mir Murtaza’s close friend Ali Sonara was arrested following which Mir Sahib along with his companions attacked the CIA Centre, threatened the police personnel and ransacked the office, alleging that the police chief ought to arrest him.
Secondly, he added, DSP Zafar Mithani, who was investigating the matter, misbehaved with the staff of the French Consulate and forcibly stopped them from entering into Hawkesbay. An inquiry was conducted and he was suspended. Later, the investigation was handed over to his father Ali Gohar Mithani who, according to Suddle, took revenge or was biased and that was why the PWs testified against him.
He deposed that due to this case he along with his family members underwent a lot of mental torture and he was also arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order.
In their defence, Rai Tahir and Shahid Hayat asked the court to call two defence witnesses - Rao Imran Ashraf, a reporter of an evening newspaper and Inspector Haider Ali. The court, however, directed to produce them on the next date of hearing on November 14.
The first hearing of the case was held in March 1997, six months of the incident as a tribunal was appointed in October 1996. Asif Ali Zardari was acquitted in March 2008 by the Sindh High Court while Shakaib Qureshi was acquitted in November 2008 by ADJ Abdur Rehman Bhatti. Another accused in the case, Haq Nawaz Sial, was killed in mysterious circumstances.