SC upholds sentences of army officers for conspiring against Benazir’s 1995 govt

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) upheld on Tuesday the sentences of military officers involved in the 1995 conspiracy to overthrow the government of slain former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto, Daily City News reported.

The apex court dismissed all appeals in favour of dismissing and reviewing the sentences of Colonel (retd) Azad Minhas and Colonel (retd) Inayatullah.

The field court martial had sentenced Azad to two years, and Inayatullah to four years of imprisonment with hard labour and dismissal from service.

Both former army officers were prosecuted in 1995 for plotting to overthrow Benazir’s government. Justice Muneeb Akhtar read out the SC’s judgment, reserved on February 15.

The petitions against their sentences were earlier rejected by the Lahore High Court. The accused had approached the SC in 2016 following the LHC’s rejection.

Four military officers and a civilian were convicted of plotting to overthrow the then-PPP government.

Benazir’s assassination

On December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated soon after she had addressed an election rally in the historic Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi. She was reportedly killed by a 15-year-old suicide bomber.

Over 15 years after the assassination of the first woman premier of a Muslim country, her killers are yet to face justice as her trial remains shrouded in mystery despite various national and international inquiries.

One of the most important high-profile cases of the country’s chequered history still lies pending in the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Rawalpindi bench.

Over 20 party workers were killed and 71 others were seriously injured in the attack on the former premier.

In the aftermath of the incident, four inquiries were conducted into the high-profile case with the police joint investigation team (JIT), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the United Nations (UN) and Scotland Yard striving to solve the matter. However, these inquiries and investigations yielded no results as the Bhutto family did not pursue the case in the special anti-terrorism court (ATC).

A total of 12 challans were filed in this case, 355 appearances were recorded, 10 judges were changed and 141 witnesses, including 68 prosecution witnesses, testified.

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