Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is Mr. Kamran Khan (Jang Group) Anti-PPP & Anti Democracy?



ISLAMABAD: PPP MNA Sher Muhammad Baloch during a speech on the floor of the National Assembly accused that Geo TV and its anchor Kamran Khan wanted to destabilize the country. “The Geo TV and Kamran Khan are anti-parliament, anti-PPP and they want to destabilize Pakistan,” Sher Baloch while delivering his speech on Rabbani committee report said. PPP’s Abdul Qadar Patel who was chairing the session tried to interrupt Baloch but the other PPP members started thumping desks to hail remarks uttered by their colleague. Patel, however, did not expunge Sher Baloch’s remarks against Geo TV and Kamran Khan. The Geo TV time and again becomes target of criticism from the leaders of the ruling party for exposing corruption. Meanwhile, a Geo spokesman said Geo is the only channel that is highlighting people’s problems, importance of rule of law, bad affects of corruption particularly Swiss cases, crime and ever-increasing price hike. The channel unveiled many big cases of corruption and irregularities, he said. The Geo campaign against corruption and lawlessness, he said, is unabated and that was why it is highest-rated channel. The channel is popular among the masses and its programmes are highest rated. Only yesterday Kamran Khan in his programme at Geo raised the question that Supreme Court is not hearing NRO cases including Swiss courts cases. REFERENCE: Geo is anti-parliament, PPP MNA tells NAWednesday, December 22, 2010 By Muhammad Anis http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=2835&Cat=13















Wednesday, December 22, 2010, Muharram 15, 1432 A.H
http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/dec2010-daily/22-12-2010/main4.htm



ISLAMABAD: “Geo is working on agenda to destabilise Pakistan,” alleged the so-called ‘highly qualified and learned’ PPP legislator, Jamshed Dasti, in the National Assembly on Monday. Dasti, it may be recalled, was recently disqualified by the Supreme Court for contesting the 2008 elections on a fake graduation degree but was again allowed by the PPP Co-Chairperson and President Asif Ali Zardari to contest the elections and was thus re-elected. On Monday, he vent his anger at the news channel and particularly targeted its anchorperson Kamran Khan. Geo News had played an active role in exposing this so-called learned legislator of the PPP who had contested the elections on a fake degree. Jamshed Dasti said anchorpersons were staging anti-legislators’ programmes and were directly attacking even the person of the prime minister. He appreciated the late founder of Jang Group Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman and said hewas one of the icons of journalism in the country. But now some of the journalists are doing yellow journalism, he added. Another PPP legislator Sher Muhammad Baloch described renowned anchorperson of Geo Kamran Khan and another anchorperson as “enemies of democracy and the State”. He said the Geo anchorperson wanted to run the state of Pakistan like “parchoon ki dukan” (grocery shop). He appealed to the Supreme Court to take action against them for allegedly acting against the state as they were “destabilising Pakistan”. He also asked Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza to allow him to bring a motion in the house against these anchorpersons. Sher Muhammad Baloch ruled out mid-term elections saying the country’s situation did not allow it. He appreciated the role of Mian Nawaz Sharif and termed him one of the leaders of the country. REFERENCE: ‘Most qualified and learned’ PPP MNA says Tuesday, October 05, 2010 Shawwal 25, 1431 A.H. http://www.thenews.com.pk/05-10-2010/Top-Story/1100.htm


Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, [commission of] or incitement to an offense. Every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party,. REFERENCE: 1973 Constitution of Pakistan http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part2.ch1.html When Kamran Khan and Jang Group can discuss "Pending Trial" then should Pakistanis first have to take permission from GEO TV/Jang Group/The News International to utter something, or one has to ask for permission of GEO TV/Jang Group/The News International to exercise their Political Right that includes showing Flag of any political party. Kamran Khan and Jang Group behave as if we are living in Third Reich.


Human Memory is weak and when one is prejudiced then it is more detrimental and that is the case of Mr. Kamran Khan, Senior Correspondent Jang Group of Newspapers/The News International and GEO TV [Judge, Jury & Executioner]. Read contradictions in Mr Kamran Khan Reports wherein in one report he takes credit that Late. Benazir Bhutto praised his "Reporting", in another report he condemns Zardari whereas in his own report he filed in the year 2000 he completely forgets the "Role of Zardari in Submarine Case". Watch and Enjoy the contradictions of Mr Kamran Khan's "Excellent Investigative Reporting". Kamran Khan has quoted the GEO Clip of Late. Benazir Bhutto praising GEO TV

Answer Of Kamran Khan To PPP's Leadership About Indian Agent - 19 October 2010 - 1

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTQom6Sj3hY


RAWALPINDI: Senior Journalist Hamid Mir while expressing his views in Geo News programme "Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath" said the PPP has forgotten the ideology of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed. He recalled that Benazir Bhutto in her book had condemned the attack on Geo offices. He said Benazir Bhutto also described the role of journalists and Geo in restoration of democracy in Pakistan. - Kamran Khan said while accusing them, Raja Riaz had ignored remarks of his leader Benazir Bhutto who had praised the media while addressing the nation. She had demanded lifting of all curbs on the media. She had declared that Geo is the largest channel of the country. She had said that free press is their policy. RAWALPINDI: Kamran Khan lamented that today BB is not in this world and her party is not only trying to strangulate the channel but those running it are accused of being Indian agent. REFERENCE: PPP allegations against newsmen slammed by all By Usman Manzoor Wednesday, October 20, 2010 Zi Qad 11, 1431 A.H. http://www.thenews.com.pk/20-10-2010/Top-Story/1428.htm After failing to nab killers, govt finds Indian agents: Kamran News Desk Wednesday, October 20, 2010 Zi Qad 11, 1431 A.H. http://www.thenews.com.pk/20-10-2010/Top-Story/1426.htm



Defending himself against the allegations of the federal minister for labour and manpower, Kamran Khan, the host of the Geo programme ‘Aaj Kamran Kay Sath’, said that they have been exposing corruption in the regime of Pervez Musharraf and an appreciation letter of Benazir Bhutto on his investigative reports is an asset for him. Kamran Khan said that during the dictatorial regime and a decade before that when there was democracy in the country, they were doing the same. Addressing Khurshid Shah, he said that in view of the importance of his investigative reports, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had addressed a press conference in a five-star hotel of Karachi to highlight the reports that were quoted in arguments against the cases that were instituted against Benazir Bhutto and her spouse Asif Zardari in Pakistan as well as abroad. REFERENCE: Anti-corruption reports to appear at all costs: Kamran Khan Thursday, August 13, 2009 http://www.thenews.com.pk/print3.asp?id=23854



Now let us all read what "Kamran Khan" had filed against the very Benazir Bhutto which he quoted in the above clip and news report and Kamran Khan had condemned Benazir Bhutto and it is well recorded not only in The News International and Daily Jang but also in the archives of Pakistan Television Corporation and even The Washington Post. So lets not be fooled again and again and let us all know the True Sentiments of Kamran Khan against Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Pakistan Peoples Party.

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KARACHI, PAKISTAN, NOV. 5 (TUESDAY) -- Pakistani President Farooq Leghari dismissed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto early today and dissolved the National Assembly in a decree he said was mandated by corruption, political violence and financial mismanagement by Bhutto's government. The president's action, while legal under the constitution, was backed up by army troops who surrounded Bhutto's house in Islamabad, the capital, as well as the parliament and radio and television stations in major cities. The country's airports were closed. Bhutto, 43, who was elected prime minister in 1993, was reported to be in her residence but not under formal detention.

Corruption of Zardari-Benazir Part-1 of 5

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cax6xkIRHr4&feature=related

The decree, which marked the second time that Bhutto has been dismissed from the prime minister's office on charges of corruption, delivered a new blow to Pakistan's faltering democracy. Under relentless pressure from the military, no elected Pakistani prime minister has finished a full term in office, and Bhutto's predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, was forced to resign.

Corruption of Zardari-Benazir Part-2 of 5

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8z62URPouE&feature=related

Leghari, who issued his decree at 1:45 a.m., called for new elections to be held Feb. 3. Malik Meraj Khalid, a founding member of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, took over as acting prime minister later in the day. Khalid, a former speaker of parliament, told reporters, "Our first priority will be to hold free, fair and impartial elections." Bhutto's dismissal came amid a bitter political struggle with the Supreme Court, which recently thwarted her attempt to appoint political loyalists as judges by ruling that judicial appointments are the prerogative of the president. Bhutto also was haunted by charges that she and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, had collected bribes and kickbacks on government contracts and transferred the millions of dollars into foreign bank accounts and property holdings.

Corruption of Zardari-Benazir Part-3 of 5

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INhDlNzjbmQ&feature=related

Well-placed officials said that in August, the army had warned Leghari about growing unrest in its ranks and had provided him with evidence about corruption involving Zardari. An official said Zardari and about 20 other party members had been arrested. Bhutto denied the charges against her and as recently as Sunday vowed to complete her five-year term, saying, "We cannot imagine {Leghari} using his powers to dismiss the government." This morning her spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said Bhutto had received a letter from the president at her home in Islamabad and would comment later in the day.

Corruption of Zardari-Benazir Part- 4 of 5

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF8MXBD-sfk&feature=related
Corruption of Zardari-Benazir Part-5 of 5

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8qH_iYUjjY&feature=related

Bhutto, daughter of Pakistan's first elected leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, portrayed herself abroad as a woman struggling against powerful military and political adversaries to bring economic liberalization and social moderation to her Muslim country of 134 million. After her father was hanged in 1979 following a 1977 military coup, she spent years in exile in the West, earning degrees from Harvard and Oxford.

Benazir Bhutto Corruption Exposed ... BBC Report Part 1

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzDcBWYzjsI&feature=related
Benazir Bhutto Corruption Exposed ... BBC Report Part 2

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_WzNGD7-to&feature=related

In government, however, Bhutto has appeared unwilling or unable to rein in widespread corruption, stabilize Pakistan's finances or stop mounting ethnic and religious violence. Her government's relations with the United States were relatively good, but were troubled by Pakistan's repeated purchases of advanced military equipment from China, including components for nuclear weapons manufacturing.

A State Department spokesman in Washington said Monday evening that the Clinton administration would have no immediate comment on Bhutto's removal.

Bhutto's first stint in office, which began when she was appointed prime minister in 1988, lasted just two years and was, like the term that was ended today, marked by allegations of corruption. Her husband and father were accused of orchestrating improper deals involving government-owned land, and she was faulted for clashes with military leaders and for inaction in the face of civil strife in her home state, Sindh. In his decree, Leghari said Bhutto was responsible for killings of political opponents. Karachi has been wracked by about 2,000 murders in the last several years, many of them directed against minority ethnic groups opposed to the government.

Pakistan's constitution allows the president to dismiss the prime minister and legislature if it is determined that the government is not able to act according to the constitution. The constitution mandates new elections within 90 days. However, there were broad hints from sources close to Leghari this morning that elections might be delayed until Pakistan completes a long-scheduled census and the Supreme Court rules on the division of powers between the president and prime minister.

BHUTTO'S TURBULENT CAREER

1953: Born in Karachi into a wealthy, landowning family; educated at Harvard and Oxford universities.

1977: Shortly after her return from Oxford, her father, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, is ousted from office, arrested and charged with conspiring to murder a party colleague. She is also arrested and held, with several short breaks, until April 1980.

1979: Her father is executed by the military regime. She is considered the political heir of her father's Pakistan People's Party.

1981-84: Under house arrest while refusing to disavow political activity if released.

1984: Bhutto is allowed to leave Pakistan for medical treatment in January.

1985: Martial law ends in Pakistan for the first time since 1977, but elections are not held, and the military retains much power.

1986: Bhutto returns to Pakistan to a tumultuous welcome of supporters and calls for free elections. She is formally elected co-chair of the Pakistan People's Party.

1987: Marries Asif Ali Zardari, a wealthy businessman.

1988: The PPP wins parliamentary elections and she becomes prime minister, the first woman to head a modern Islamic state.

1990: President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses Bhutto's government, accusing her of corruption and abuse of power and charging Bhutto had failed to protect Pakistanis from rural and urban violence.

1993: In political comeback, wins five-year term as prime minister by forming a coalition after elections. During her campaign and in office, she crusades against corruption.

1996: In August, Bhutto elevates her husband, a member of parliament, to her cabinet with a special portfolio as investment minister, as charges of corruption intensify. REFERENCE: REFERENCE: Bhutto Out as Premier in Pakistan President Charges Corruption, Dissolves National Assembly By Kamran Khan Special to The Washington Post Thursday, November 7, 1996 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122701023.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122701023_2.html

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Kamran Khan's Dirty Role after Mir Murtaza Bhutto's Death in 1996.

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PPP(SB) FILES LIST OF 22 WITNESSES KARACHI, Dec. 8, 1996:




Mr Sharif, arrested by the police in the same murder case, will be asked to produce the record of reports submitted by the bureau at Karachi, on the basis of which it sought permission for action against Mir Murtaza and his men. Another witness, secretary general of the PPP (SB), Rao Abdul Rashid, is also likely to establish the motive for and conspiracy to murder. Others cited in the same category of witnesses are: Ishaque Khakwani, and Dr Altaf Khwaja, deputy secretary general of the party; Kamran Khan, correspondent of The News; Ahsan-ul-Haq Bhatti and Abdullah Baloch, members of the central committee of the party' Dr.Zahid Hussain Jatoi, brother of the late Ashique Hussain Jatoi; Khalid Khan Dalmian, ex-MPA Rahim Bux Jamali; and Behram Khan Ujjan. REFERENCE: Murtaza Bhutto; Events after his murder by Sani Hussain Panhwar http://www.scribd.com/doc/8724391/Murtaza-Bhutto-Events-after-his-murder

On Saturday Dr Zahid Hussain Jatoi, elder brother of Ashiq Hussain Jatoi, Ehsanul Haq Bhatti, Rahim Bux Jamali and Abdullah Baloch would be summoned. On Sunday Behram Khan Ujjan and Dr Altaf Khawaja would be summoned, including Kamran Khan, a senior reporter of The News. Ishaq Khakwani and Rao Rashid would be summoned on Monday. About the appearance of Ghinwa Bhutto, the counsel emphatically said she would be appearing within the next few days and the date would be communicated to the tribunal shortly. REFERENCE: Murtaza Bhutto; Events after his murder by Sani Hussain Panhwar http://www.scribd.com/doc/8724391/Murtaza-Bhutto-Events-after-his-murder




Ms Bhutto said she was not aware where Nagib Zafar was on that fateful night and there was confusion as to who received the calls and from whom and where. The phone bills of 70-Clifton be also examined to "see the moving hand and moving shadow," she suggested and also expressed surprise at how could the press people receive the news at 9pm and who were those anonymous callers who were informing everybody about it. Benazir Bhutto also wanted to know who were those anonymous persons behind the shooting who also informed Rao Rashid, Ishaq Khakhwani, Kamran Khan (a journalist), and Masood Sharif, the then the DG of the Intelligence Bureau. They (anonymous callers), she maintained, had disseminated lies to distract the attention of the judges and the people through the cock-and-bull stories about Mr Zardari's moustaches and other of their's "Tota Kahanis" (parrot stories). "It was a hidden hand to kill a Bhutto to get a Bhutto and finish off the PPP, to incite hatred against me, the torch-bearer of the PPP and torch- bearer of the Bhutto legacy and finally to overthrow my government. The object was also to present us as shameless creatures," she said. REFERENCE: Murtaza Bhutto; Events after his murder by Sani Hussain Panhwar http://www.scribd.com/doc/8724391/Murtaza-Bhutto-Events-after-his-murder




They were asked to emulate the honest men. Kamran Khan, a correspondent of The News, appeared with a written request that he should be heard as a witness to reply to the statement made by the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to clear his name, to which the tribunal said it was not holding a defamation trial. The tribunal said it was not concerned with who had said what and that the former prime minister had named 50 people in her statement and there was no time to allow all those who had been named in her statement the opportunity to hear them. "We have limited time and by March 17 the report has to be submitted to the government and we will not allow you to examine Ms Benazir Bhutto and if we allow that there will be no end to it," the chairman observed. The chairman asked him to submit a written statement before March 17. He also observed that he (Kamran Khan) should have come forward earlier, when the messages were being sent to him. He was reminded by the tribunal that one of the reporters of The News, Maqbool Ahmed, was given the message to convey to him for his appearance when his name was mentioned in the list submitted by the PPP (SB) party counsel, Manzoor Bhutta. "You kept quiet when you knew about it through the newspapers. You did not wake up until she came and named you by saying 'if he could be used by me others can also use him.' "Kamran Khan said he did not know who Maqbool Ahmed was. He said Ms Bhutto had used the tribunal's platform to say things against him and, therefore, he wanted to reply to her from the same platform, to which the chairman said she had a locus standii, because her brother had been killed and her husband had been arrested in the case. REFERENCE: Murtaza Bhutto; Events after his murder by Sani Hussain Panhwar http://www.scribd.com/doc/8724391/Murtaza-Bhutto-Events-after-his-murder

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”Quote”




As per Ghazali Book The Fourth Republic Chapter IX While the people speculated about the motives behind the killing of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Dr. Mubashir Hasan, a former Finance Minister and a founder member of the PPP, was very blunt in his remarks: “For those who have removed Murtaza from our midst, the real problem has been and is Prime Minister Benazir. As long as Murtaza was alive, removing Benazir carried unacceptable risks. Murtaza could take over the mantle of the elder Bhutto’s legend. Else Murtaza and Benazir would be striving for a common cause, separately or jointly. That would have presented formidable political problems. Murtaza gone, the way is clear. Benazir stands perilously weakened. She is the next to go. Such are the brutal pathways of realpolitik.” [Dawn 25.9.1996.]” [For Further Reading UNHCR REPORT ON PAKISTAN OF 1996]

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Kamran Khan [The Correspondent of The News International/Washington Post] was the one who met with Murtaza in Damascus (Syria) [at the behest of Brigadier (r) Imtiaz] several times and insist him to come back to Pakistan, Kamran used to fly to Syria every month at that time.

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Former interior minister Naseerullah Babar paid glowing tributes to Shoaib Suddle for restoring peace in Karachi when in 1994 the Army was withdrawn from the metropolitan city. He said the ISI was involved in the murder of Murtaza Bhutto. He said he had formed a commission to probe against the ISI but pressure was mounted on him and afterwards the inquiry was givenup. He criticized the MQM decision to join forces with the opposition. He said the MQM should join the government for the sake of peace in Karachi. REFERENCE: ‘Bill to cut president down to size this week’ News Desk Monday, April 14, 2008 News Desk http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=14093

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Reality of Corruption Cases against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari and Alleged "Investigative Journalism" of Mr. Kamran Khan.




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Cases and Materials Relating to Corruption Issue 3 – May 2003 Editor John Hatchard http://www.cvc.nic.in/Vol%201%20Issue%203%202003.pdf Zardari & Bhutto v The State Pages 34 -61 A joint project of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association, The Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association, The Commonwealth Secretariat and Transparency International – Centre for Innovation and Research Funded by the United Nations Development Programme Editorial Contact: Transparency International Centre for Innovation and Research 27 the Quadrangle, 49 Atalanta Street, London, SW6 6TU, United Kingdom Tel. +44(0)207 610 1400 Fax. +44(0)207 610 1550 Email: caselaw@ti-cir.org Website: www.transparency.org

The issue of judicial corruption arises in the case of Zardari and Bhutto v The State. Here the validity of the conviction of a former Pakistan Prime Minister and her spouse on corruption charges was in issue. The Supreme Court of Pakistan undertakes an exhaustive examination of the circumstances in which the decision of the lower court was reached and in particular examines the meaning and scope of judicial “bias”. As the Court notes (in para.29), the evidence:

“not only goes a long way to suggest that Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. [one of the two trial judges] had acquired a personal interest in the case by deriving an out of the way favour of the grant of diplomatic passports to him and his wife but also divulges a close liaison between the learned Judge, Senator Saifur Rehman and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister whose political rivalry with Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant is a matter of common knowledge”.

The case also illustrates the danger of undue influence by a senior judge upon a fellow, more junior, judge. As the Supreme Court notes (in para.43)

“It appears from the record that Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. being the senior member of the Bench had exerted his influence on the second member S. Najamul Hassan Kazmi J. who being an unconfirmed Judge of the Lahore High Court was sweating for confirmation”.

Overall, the decision is a salutary reminder of the need for judges to observe the rules of natural justice and to maintain their independence and emphasizes the importance of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, noted earlier in the Bulletin.

Note: The Ehtesab (Accountability) Act assigns the responsibility of conducting an enquiry into corruption and corrupt practices to an Ehtesab (Accountability) Cell. The cell reports to the Chief Ehtesab (Accountability) Commissioner. A Reference against an accused is initiated by the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner.

ZARDARI AND BHUTTO v THE STATE

Supreme Court of Pakistan (Appellate Jurisdiction)
Mr. Justice Muhammad Bashir Jehangiri.; Mr. Justice Sh. Riaz Ahmad; Mr. Justice Munir A. Sheikh; Mr. Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui; Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary; Mr. Justice Qazi Muhammad Farooq; Mr. Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar.
April 6th 2001
The facts appear in paragraph 6 of the judgment
Cases referred to:
Anwar and Another v The Crown PLD 1955 FC 185
Benazir Bhutto v. President of Pakistan and Another 1992 SCMR 140
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto v. The State PLD 1999 SC 937
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Leader of the Opposition, Bilawal House, Clifton, Karachi,
and another v. The State through Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, Islamabad 1999 SCMR
759
Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto, M.N.A, and another v. The State PLD 2000 SC 795
Khairdi Khan v Crown PLD 1953 FC 223
Machia and 2 others v. The State PLD 1976 SC 695,
Metropolitan Properties Co. (F.G.C.), Ltd. v. Lannon and Others [1968] 3 All ER 304
R v Sussex Justices, ex p. McCarthy [1923] 1 KB 256
Shahadat Khan and another v Home Secretary to the Government of West Pakistan
and others PLD 1969 SC 158
For the Appellants:
Raja Muhammad Anwar, Sr.ASC
Sardar Muhammad Latif Khosa, Sr. ASC
Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, Sr.ASC
For the respondent/State:
Mr M Zahoorul Haq, ASC
Mr Ali Sabtain Fazli, ASC
Ch. Fazal-I-Hussain, AOR
For the Federation of Pakistan:
Attorney General of Pakistan
MUHAMMAD BASHIR JEHANGIRI, J. (gave the judgment of the Court)

1. This judgment will dispose of Criminal Appeals bearing No.102 and 127 of 1999, both of which are directed against the judgment dated 15th April, 1999 of a learned Division Bench of the Lahore High Court.

2. The appeals were heard by a larger Bench of seven Judges with effect from 26thFebruary to 3rd April, 2001. The two appellants were tried by the learned Ehtesab Bench of Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, on its original side on receipt of Ehtesab Reference No. 30 of 1998 from the then learned Chief Ehtesab Commissioner filed under section 15(1) of the Ehtesab Act (IX of 1997) (hereinafter referred to as the Act against as many as 12 accused including the two convict-appellants before us.

3. Facts of the case, according to the prosecution, are that by his letter dated 14thMarch, 1998 the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner made a Reference under section 15 of the Act to the Lahore High Court, Lahore. This Reference was registered as ERNo.30/98. The learned Chief Justice of Lahore High Court constituted a Bench comprising Malik Muhammad Qayyum and Syed Najam-ul-Hassan Kazmi, JJ. in terms of section 2(f) read with section 10 of the Act. The Reference comprised the letter referred to above and the interim report referred to in paragraph 13 thereof. The gist of the allegations as set out in the Reference were that Ms. Benazir Bhutto, ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, ex-Federal Minister/ Ms. Benazir Bhutto’s spouse, appellants and A.R.Siddiqui, ex-Chairman, CBR by abusing their authority as holders of public office in collusion with each other and with M/s Societe General De SurveillanceSA (“SGS”) as well as Jens Schlegelmilch, and Directors of M/s. SGS awarded a contract for pre-shipment inspection to M/s SGS. This had allegedly been done for illegal gratification in the form of kickbacks and commissions resulting in loss to the public revenue. The Reference also set out the various dates on which various alleged events took place. It was supported by an interim report in the form of a Reference spreading over pages 1-257 which had been submitted by the Ehtesab Bureau to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner under section 15(6) of the Act. The reference made by the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner alleged commission of offences of corruption and corrupt practices within the meanings of section 3 read with section 4(2) of the Act.

4. Having taken cognizance of the offences under the Act alleged to have been committed, the Bench finding that there were sufficient grounds for proceeding with the case, issued summonses to the persons named as the appellants in the Reference. It may be mentioned here that at a later stage, the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner also forwarded a supplementary Reference on 20th August, 1998, in which another person, Hans Fischer, was added as an accused.

Supplementary Reference.

5. According to Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, learned Sr.ASC for Asif Ali Zardari appellant, a Supplementary Reference under section 15(1) of the Act was “purportedly filed by the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner before the learned Ehtesab Bench, Lahore High Court, against the appellant on 20th August, 1998”. In the said Reference the name of Hans Fischer, Vice President of SGS, was added as an accused person and it was alleged that as a result of a further probe in the on-going investigation, additional cogent material and documentary evidence had been collected against the accused persons, mostly through the Swiss authorities and certain documents were annexed thereto in which it was stated that at the request of the Government of Pakistan under the Protocol for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Judge Michelle, Canton of Geneva, ordered the seizure of the documents from the possession of SGS and Cotecna relating to the contract entered into with the Government of Pakistan and thereafter Judge Daniel Devaud vide order dated 24th June, 1998 ruled that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan be admitted as a damaged party. It was further alleged in the said Supplementary Reference that the judicial office of the Examining Magistrate in Switzerland after having inculpated the appellants, issued an International “Letter Rogatory“ which was handed over to the Ehtesab Bureau, Government of Pakistan by the Swiss Embassy in Pakistan through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for service on the appellants who refused to accept the same. It was also stated in the Supplementary Reference that “the documents received from the Swiss authorities further revealed that subsequent to the issuance of a letter dated 29th June, 1994 by Cotecna, whereby they had promised to pay 6% of the receipts from the Government of Pakistan to Mariston Securities Inc, the name of Bomer Finance Inc was substituted on 24th May, 1995, thereby indicating that the said 6% would be paid to Bomer Finance Inc and not Mariston Securities Inc. It is further alleged that Jens Schlegelmilch, one of the accused, visited Pakistan and stayed as a guest of the then Prime Minister on various occasions which fact established his relationship with the then Prime Minister and Asif Ali Zardari.

Short Order

6. The short order dated 15th April, 1999 convicting the appellants is reproduced hereunder:-

The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner has referred to this Court under section 15(1) of the Ehtesab Act, 1997 the above Reference against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and a Member of the National Assembly and her husband Senator Asif Ali Zardari for trial under sections 3 and 4 of the Ehtesab Act, 1997. After summoning the accused, we framed the following charges against them:

Charges against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

“You as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 16.11.1993 to 5.11.1996 along with your spouse Asif Ali Zardari in exercise of your official functions and by abuse of your position as a holder of public office as defined in sub-para (ii) of section 2 of the Act, with the abetment, assistance and aid of other co-accused dishonestly and through corrupt and illegal means ordered the grant of a ‘pre-shipment inspection contract’ dated29-9-1994 to M/s Societe Generale De Surveillance (SGS) inconsideration of illegal gratification, pecuniary advantages, commission and kick-backs, earlier agreed upon which were paid by SGS and contained and received in Bank accounts of off-shore companies operated by Jens Schlegelmilch namely Bomer Finance Inc., Mariston Securities Inc. and Nassam Overseas Inc. of which you and your spouse and others are beneficiaries. Your above acts constitute the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under section 3(1)(a), 3(1)(d) and 4(2) of the Act which is triable by this Court, we hereby direct that you be tried on the said charges.”

Charges against Asif Ali Zardari Accused No.2

“You as a holder of public office as defined in sub-para (ii) of section 2of the Act along with your spouse Ms. Benazir Bhutto in exercise of your official functions and by abuse of your position as a holder of public office, with the abetment, assistance and aid of others, dishonestly and through corrupt and illegal means secured the award of pre-shipment inspection contract dated 29.9.1994 for M/s Societe Generale DeSurveillance S.A, (SGS) in consideration of illegal gratification, pecuniary advantages, commission and kick-backs, earlier agreed upon which were paid by SGS and were obtained and received in bank accounts of off-shore companies operated by Jens Schlegelmilch, namely, Bomer Finance Inc., Mariaton Securities Inc. and Nassam Overseas Inc. of which you and your spouse and other are beneficiaries. Your above acts constitute the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under section 3(1)(a), 3(1)(d) and 4(2) of the Act which is triable by us. We hereby direct that you be tried on the said charges”.

In order to prove its case, the prosecution examined 16 witnesses and also produced 385 documents which were duly exhibited. In defence th eonly witness examined by Mr. Asif Ali Zardari was Mr. Nawaz Hussain, Superintendent Landhi Jail, Karachi as DW.1. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties at great length. For detailed reasons to be recorded later, we have reached the following conclusion:-

i) That the evidence comprising of Pakistani documents, documents sent along with letter rogatory, as also documents sent by the Swiss Judge, Daniel Devaud, duly stamped and signed by him, are admissible in evidence being certified copies of public documents and have been duly proved;

ii) That the pre-shipment inspection contract in question was awarded to M/s SGS by the former Prime Minister, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto alone and the so-called presentation [to] the Committee set up by her was merely an eyewash at the behest of and in abetment with Mr. Asif Ali Zardari;

iii) That the contract was awarded for the reason that M/s SGS had, on11th March, 1994, promised to pay 6% (six percent) of the fee received by it to Bomer Finance Inc. Bomer Finance was a company wholly and beneficially owned by Mr. Asif Ali Zardari;

iv) That the payment of kickbacks was made in the account of Bomer Finance Inc. which it was maintaining with Union Bank of Switzerland, Geneva, which bears the account No. 552343. In addition to Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto also had access to this account and she had paid £92,000 out of the aforesaid account as the price payable in respect of the necklace purchased by her for £117,000;

v) That this Court had validly appointed Mr. Moazzam Hayat, Registrar of this Court as a Commission in order to compare the certified copies procured in evidence by the prosecution with the documents in the original record, collected by Judge Daniel Devaud and also to verify the authentication of certified copies;

vi) That the award of the contract resulted in the payment of US$137,492 million by the Government to M/s SGS which has further claimed US$13 million out of the above commission amounting toUS$4.3 million was paid by SGS to Mr. Asif Ali Zardari of which Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was also a beneficiary;

vii) That the trial of the respondents is not hit by Article 12 of the Constitution which has no applicability to the facts of the case.

It follows from the above that the prosecution has proved its case against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Senator Asif Ali Zardari beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. They are, therefore, guilty of having committed corruption and corrupt practices within the meaning of section 3 (1)(a), section 3(1)(d) and section 4(2) of the Ehtesab Act,1997.

Accordingly, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Senator Asif Ali Zardari are convicted and sentenced to undergo 5 years imprisonment each and to pay a fine of US$8.6 million or equivalent amount in the Pakistani currency. They are further disqualified under section 9 of the Ehtesab Act, 1997 from holding any public office. Their property shall also be confiscated.

Evidence

7. In this case the prosecution in order to bring home charges to the appellants placed reliance on [the evidence of a series of witnesses and documentary evidence] ….

8. Hassan Waseem Afzal (PW14) was appointed as Joint Secretary in Ehtesab Bureau on 9th April 1997 and was a member of the Ehtesab Bureau, Islamabad. During the course of his duty, various matters relating to corruption and corrupt practices came to his notice including matters relating to Ms. Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari appellants and some of the bureaucrats and tax-evaders. According to him, the Ehtesab Reference in which the two appellants were involved was sent to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner by the Ehtesab Bureau. He also coordinated and assisted the prosecution in the preparation of these cases particularly relating to the overseas aspect. In September, 1997, according to Hassan Waseem Afzal, the Attorney General for Pakistan had contacted Mr. Beat Frey, the Chief of Swiss Police, under international mutual legal assistance arrangements, seeking assistance relating to the detection of corruption and corrupt practices and in that process he had obtained certified copies of the documents from the Swiss Police. According to Hassan Waseem Afzal, the original documents were produced before another Ehtesab Bench (ER 26 of1998) comprising of Ehsanul Haq Chaudhary and Raja Muhammad Khurshid, JJ. In this process, the Attorney General for Pakistan, added Hassan Waseem Afzal as a witness [and] obtained attested copies of documents from his office. Hassan Waseem Afzal also stated that he appeared before the Ehtesab Bench comprising of Ishan ulHaq Chaudhary and Raja Muhammad Khurshid, JJ and submitted the documents to the Bench and then obtained copies thereof from the Lahore High Court and produced the same in this case as Ex.PW-14/1 to 152. He has also claimed to have visited Geneva as Coordinator of the affairs of the Ehtesab Bureau and met his lawyers in Geneva [and] that the Swiss Government had ordered the raids on the offices of Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantim. According to him the same Judge had ordered the search of Offices of SGS and Cotecna and had summoned various bank managers, recorded their statements and took records into his possession. According to him while carrying on these proceedings, the Swiss Judge blocked the accounts of Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari appellants and Ms. Nusrat Bhutto. Thereafter the said Judge pronounced indictment orders against the President of SGS Hens Fischer, President of Cotecna and then Jens Schlegelmilch, Asif Ali Zardari and Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellants. He produced these documents as Ex.PW-14/153 and 154. Hassan Waseem Afzal further stated that the Letter Rogatory was received through the diplomatic channel along with the documents Ex.P-14/155 to 319. According to him, during the coordination proceedings, he had learnt that 19 offshore companies had been established by the appellants. He further stated that he obtained the original documents which had been submitted in the Court of Ehtesab Bench comprising Ihsanul Haq Chaudhary and Raja Muhammad Khurshid, JJ and produced attested copies thereof as PW-14/320 to 338.

9. Mr.Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, learned Sr. ASC representing Asif Ali Zardari, inter alia, contended that the learned Ehtesab Bench while recording the impugned judgment was completely biased, was the victim of malice, misconduct and had failed to observe procedural propriety. The learned counsel also pleaded that we should take judicial notice under Articles 111 and 112 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order, 1984 of the press clipping dated 16th August, 1991 of the Daily “News” under the caption “PPP paving wayfor martial law” attributed to Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan. The excerpt from the press clipping aforesaid reads as under:

“My blood boils when the name of PPP is mentioned to me and I feel like cutting it into pieces as this is the party responsible for the division of the country into two parts and now once again it is creating hurdles in the way of the country’s progress and development.”

10. Learned counsel went on to say that “Saliva that dripped from the mouth of the man was law”.

Contentions on the Question of Bias Raised on Behalf of the Appellants.

11. The contentions of Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada and Raja Muhammad Anwar, learned ASC for the appellants, primarily are as under:-

a) That in Reference No. 26/1998 the learned Bench had ordered the freezing of all the assets, bank accounts and the properties of the two appellants situated inside and outside Pakistan, vide order dated 27th April, 1997. In this context, it was pointed out that Reference No. 26/98 appears to have been made over to the Bench headed by Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. temporarily for the sole purpose of securing the order of freezing of assets etc. and in lieu thereof diplomatic passports were granted to Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. and his wife, notwithstanding the serious objection raised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court of Pakistan are not entitled to the grant of this category of passport. It was thus urged that the grant of diplomatic passports to Mr. Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum and his wife was a favour and from that point of time onwards bias became evident on the part of Malik Muhammad Qayyum J.

b) That on 28th September, 1998 the trial of the appellants from that of ten other co-accused was separated in order to use against the appellants the statement purportedly made by one of the co-accused, namely Jens Schlegelmilch, during the investigative process carried out in Geneva.

c) That Reference No.30/98 was pending at the principal seat of the Lahore High Court from where it was transferred by the order of this Court dated 14th December, 1998 in the case reported as Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Leader of the Opposition, Bilawal House, Clifton, Karachi, and another v. The State through Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, Islamabad(1999 SCMR 759), to the Rawalpindi Bench where another Ehtesab Bench being seized of other Ehtesab References was available to hear this Reference also. Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. travelled all the way from Lahore to Rawalpindi which was described as the “chasing” of the above Reference filed against the appellants to achieve the desired result.

d). That on 2nd April, 1999 this Court in the case of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto v. The State(PLD 1999 SC 937 at page 989) authored by Irshad Hasan Khan, J. as his Lordship then was, held that “the controversy raised in these appeals, in substance revolves around the admissibility of the documents in dispute”. [He continued]

“Without expressing any opinion on the above controversial issues, we are of the view that for doing complete justice between the parties and to avoid protracted litigation, it would be expedient if the Ehtesab Bench, before consideration of and placing reliance upon the report of the Commissioner, shall provide adequate opportunity to the parties to raise any objection against the report including the question of admissibility of the documents in dispute which were sent to Switzerland through the Commission for the purpose of verifying the genuineness and authenticity of the said documents, before finally disposing of the Reference, without prejudice to any observation made in the impugned order or the leave granting order and in the light of the judgments rendered by this Court in Mohtarma BenazirBhutto v The State (Criminal Appeals Nos. 62 and 63 of1999) and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto v. The State (Criminal Petition No.208/1998)”.

12. It was further emphasized in the case of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto(above) that “On conclusion of the defence evidence as aforesaid, the arguments on the main case as well as on the applications filed under section 265-K [Criminal Procedure Code] may be heard by the Hon Ehtesab Bench simultaneously. However, consideration of objections raised to the admissibility of documents by the appellants at the time of their production in evidence before the Court, [must] be attended to in precedence to other contentions in the case…”

In consequence of the non-compliance of the above direction the appellants were deprived of a substantial right of appeal recognized in law.

e) That the learned Ehtesab Bench directed Dr. Z. Babar Awan, learned ASC for Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant to record his statement on behalf of Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant on 22ndFebruary, 1999 which he was reluctantly constrained to comply with. Ms. Benazir Bhutto, however, later submitted her statement in writing but it was spurned and not made part of the record.

f) That on the same day i.e. on 22nd April, 1998 the statement of Mr. Ali Sabtain Fazli, the learned Special Public Prosecutor, closing his side was dictated by the Bench giving up important witnesses including V.A. Jafri, Talat Javed, Khalil Ahmad etc. and he was directed by the learned Bench to sign it, as owned by the learned Special Prosecutor himself in Court before us, with a view to conclude the trial at the earliest.

g) That an application under section 476 Cr.P.C./195 PPC read with section 193 PPC was moved by Dr. Z. Babar Awan, learned counsel for Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant for initiating action regarding fabrication of documents, wherein instead of requiring reply thereto and disposing it of, the learned Ehtesab Bench appointed Mr. Mozzam Hayat, the then Registrar, Lahore High Court, as Commission for ascertaining the authenticity of the Swiss documents and that too without notice to the appellants and without their participation in those proceedings at Geneva. The methodology was adopted to strengthen the case of the prosecution.

h) That later, on 3rd September, 1998 Mr. Moazzam Hayat, the then Registrar, issued notice to Ms Benazir Bhutto and her counsel apprising them of his appointment as Commission to ascertain the authenticity of the aforesaid documents. It was further averred that on 5th March 1999, the appellants were not issued any notice for execution of the Commission to be carried out in the Chambers of Judge Daniel Davoud at Geneva. It was next urged that in this behalf an appeal was filed by the appellants in this Court on 4th March, 1999. This Court suspended the operation of the aforesaid order till 8thMarch, 1999. It appears that on 8th March, 1999 order of suspension passed by this Court was recalled and the Commission completed the proceedings on the following day without notifying the appellants and also without associating them with the process.

i) That the appellants felt aggrieved of the order of the learned Ehtesab Bench closing the defence evidence of the appellants, and challenged it before this Court. This Court in the precedent of Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto, M.N.A,. and another v. The State (PLD 2000 SC 795),inter alia, ordered that “the application dated 1-3-1999 filed by Ms. Benazir Bhutto and the application under Section 561-A Cr.P.C. filed by Asif Ali Zardari for summoning of witnesses or any other application for summoning of the witnesses filed by the two appellants which is pending on the record before the Ehtesab Bench may be taken up by the Hon Ehtesab Bench, after completion of the statement of Ms. Benazir Bhutto under Section 340(2), Cr.P.C. either on 22-3-1999or on such other date convenient to Court and will bed is posed of in accordance with the law” but this order of the apex Court was completely ignored.

j) That Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, learned Sr.ASC moved Crl. M. A. No. 64 of 2001 in Criminal Appeal No.102/98under Order XXXIII rule 8 of the Supreme Court Rules,1980 seeking a direction from this Court that “the audiotapes and their transcripts be made part of the Court record and/or pass such other order as it deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case”. In this context pointed reference was made to the taped conversations between Senator Saifur Rehman and Malik Muhammad Qayyum J:
“We will find some solution” “Find some short cut now to bypass things” “I am trying my best”.

k) That the arguments of Mr. Ali Sabtain Fazli, learned SpecialPublic Prosecutor were partly heard on 8th April, 1999 withthe direction to him to complete his arguments on thefollowing day at 10.30 a.m. On 9th April,1999 the learnedSpecial Public Prosecutor concluded his arguments. Thearguments of Dr. Z. Babar Awan were heard for one hourafter 10.30 a.m. as it was Friday and, therefore, the casewas adjourned to 12th April, 1999, on which date when Mr.Farooq H.Naek, learned ASC, who had replaced Dr. Z.Babar Awan as counsel for Ms. Benazir Bhutto, opened hisarguments. He was, however, ordered by the learned Ehtesab Bench to complete his arguments by 10.30 a.m. on the same day. The grievance made by the learned counsel for the appellant was peremptorily rejected. At this stage, according to Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, he got up to intervene “as a friend of the Court and not as a counsel for the parties and stated that he had never experienced such an oppressive atmosphere in Court proceedings”. He urged the Court “for the sake of integrity of the Institution to give one more day to Mr. Farooq H. Naek, learned ASC to complete his submissions”. Consequently, the learned Ehtesab Bench reluctantly directed Mr. Farooq H. Naek, learned ASC, to conclude his arguments by 12.00 noon the following day. It was next submitted that Ms. Benazir Bhutto’s counsel concluded his arguments by 12.00 noon with the assurance by Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. that he was permitted to give full written submissions and that the learned Bench would hear him again if clarifications were needed.

l) That on 14th April, 1998, the appellants’ counsel had partly argued on his Application under Section 265-K Cr.P.C. Malik Muhammad Qayyum J., however, “made a personal request to Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, learned Sr.ASC, to finish his arguments ‘tomorrow’ since he was not well and needed to go abroad for ‘treatment’”. The learned counsel for the appellant in support of his submissions, referred to the following conversations which had been tape-recorded and transcript whereof had been made available along withCrl.M.A.64 of 2001.

Taped conversation between CJ Rashid Aziz Khan and Qayyum J.

“He is going to issue warrants for both of us”- Rashid Aziz CJ.

“I have already written the short order”– Qayyum J.

Conversation between Saifur Rehman and Qayyum, J.

“He (Nawaz) wants 101% confirmation”

“Give them full dose” Saifur Rehman

“After the interval at 11 a.m., even if they disagree we will not care”. Qayyum J.

“So after half an hour we will come back and announce it”

“It will be 3 or 4 page judgment”. Qayyum J.

Saifur Rehman “Today I have to fight with you”.

Qayyum J “Why for what reason”.

Saifur Rehman “You were supposed to do it today”.

Qayyum J “It will be done in a day or so”.

Saifur Rehman “What can I tell you”.

Qayyum J “For your sake I had to beg his lawyer. I told him that I have to go abroad, I am not feeling well but I have to finish it first”.

Saifur Rehman “Hoo”

Qayyum J “I have asked Pirzada to finish it for my sake and he has acceded to my request. Now tell me about me. Will he be happy with me. When it will be done this time. Mian Sahibwill also be happy”.

Saifur Rehman “You should have done it today”.

Qayyum J “What does it matter in one or two days. Now it willbe done gracefully which is very good. The people in Supreme Court are saying something, others are saying something”.

Saifur Rehman “I will try to control and handle him”.

Qayyum J “Handle him as you are my lawyer there”.

Saifur Rehman “Yes I am and you don’t know it only God knows”.

Qayyum J. “No”.

Saifur Rehman “I only fight for you”.

Qayyum J “Tell me one thing”.

Saifur Rehman “Yes”

Qayyum J “By the grace of God this will be done and thenboth of us will go to him and seek forgiveness”.

m) That on 17th March, 1999 Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant moved Criminal Misc. Application No.40 of 1999 under Sections 556 and 561-A Cr.P.C. mentioning therein that the learned Bench headed by Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. should not hear the Reference as he was biased against her as is evident from his conduct noted above and further that his father late Malik Muhammad Akram J. was one of those Judges of this Court who had confirmed the death sentence awarded to her father the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and that he would convict her also. The grievance made was that the learned Bench dismissed this application as well without hearing her counsel.

n) That the short order was announced on 15th April, 1999,before providing an opportunity to the appellants to pursue their objections on the report of the Commission and conclusion of the arguments. The short order had been prepared on 14th April, 1999 and announced on 15th April,1999. The learned Ehtesab Bench being conscious of the imbroglio corrected the date of announcement of the short order describing it as a typographical mistake. The short order was at variance with the detailed judgment in as much as the issue regarding the confiscation of the necklace did not figure in the former while in the latter it was made part thereof.
o). That after the statement of Mr. Moazzam Hayat was recorded as a court witness, the incriminating parts of his statement as also his report were not put to the appellants by recording their further statements under Section 342 Cr.P.C. which was mandatory.

Contentions on the Question of Bias Raised on Behalf of the State.

13. In response to the above contentions, the learned Sr.ASCs for the State submitted –

i) That the assets of the appellants were ordered to be frozen in Ehtesab Reference No. 26 of 1998, which was temporarily entrusted to the Ehtesab Bench headed by Malik Muhammad Qayyum J., and not in Reference No.30 of 1998. Besides, before framing of charge in the titled Ehtesab Reference No.30, the appellants’ counsel had categorically stated that their application for de-freezing of assets had already become infructuous as their assets had been de-frozen. It was however conceded by Mr. S.M. Zafar, Sr.ASC that the diplomatic passports were granted to Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. and his wife.

ii) That in view of the law declared by this Court in Shahadat Khan and another v Home Secretary to the Government of West Pakistan and others (PLD 1969 SC 158) and Machia and 2 others v. The State (PLD1976 SC 695), there was no compulsion on the Bench to try all the accused persons together of the same offences. The trial was separated on 28th September, 1998 and at the time of the framing of the charge on5th October, 1998, there were only two accused persons facing trial. Hence the provisions of section 239 Cr.P.C. were not attracted. The remaining accused were not available and the learned Ehtesab Bench was required under the Act to complete the proceedings within a period of 60 days as per section 10 of the Act.

iii) That the learned Ehtesab Bench having been constituted for this particular case by the order of the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court dated 3rd July, 1998 was bound to conduct the case at Rawalpindi. The appellants never raised any objection in this regard till March 1999.Moreover, the learned Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, videnotifications of different dates commencing from 10th December, 1998 to8th April, 1999, ordered that two Judges i.e. Malik Muhammad Qayyum and Najmul Hassan Kazmi JJ. shall work at the Rawalpindi Bench from time to time, details whereof are mentioned in those notifications.

iv) That it was evident from para 56 of the impugned judgment that incompliance with the order of this Court, the learned Ehtesab Bench had attended to the question of admissibility of documents first and given findings on the other questions involved thereafter.

v) That the statement of Ms. Benazir Bhutto under section 342 Cr.P.C. was recorded through her counsel Dr. Z. Babar Awan who was authorised in this behalf on account of her exemption from personal appearance in the Court on acceptance of Crl. Misc. Application No. 18 of 1998. By virtue of her application dated 23rd February, 1999 Ms. Benazir Bhutto had not only accepted her statement recorded through Dr. Z. Babar Awan but also supplemented the same by her own statement in writing.

vi) That Mr. Ali Sabtain Fazli, learned Special Public Prosecutor had closed the prosecution side of his own free will and accord.

vii) That the Commission was appointed in order to set at rest the controversy raised by the learned counsel for Ms. Benazir Bhutto in an application moved under section 476 Cr.P.C. challenging the authenticity of the documents which were presented before the Ehtesab Bench. The arguments on the application were heard in presence of the learned counsel for the parties but the order was announced later on. The Commission was thus not appointed at the back of the appellants. In any case the appellants had brought the matter of appointment of Commission to this Court and were given ample opportunity to raise objections to the report of the Commission as well as to cross-examine Mr. Moazzam Hayat.

viii) That the learned counsel for the appellants had the knowledge of appointment of the Commission throughout, therefore, non-issuance of notice of proceedings in the Chambers of Judge Daniel Devaud couldnot be blown out of proportion.

ix) That the evidence of the appellants was closed on 15th March, 1999after passing a detailed order that they had failed to produce either their witnesses or to get the summonses issued in their names in spite of three opportunities granted to them. In any case this Court had dealt with the matter in Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto v The State (above) and disposed it of in the terms that Ms. Benazir Bhutto will be afforded an opportunity to examine herself under section 340(2) Cr.P.C. as her own witness in the case on 22nd March, 1999, or on such other date convenient to the Court and allowed a fair opportunity to examine the witnesses in her defence within the bounds of law. The learned counsel for the appellants were provided ample opportunity to put forth their point of view and this fact was borne out by the findings recorded in the short as well as in the detailed orders.

x) That the ground of bias set up by the appellants that the father of the learned Senior Judge was one of the Judges who had confirmed death sentence awarded to the father of Ms Benazir Bhutto was no ground at all for bias as in fact the appellant might have a bias against the learned senior member and his father.

xi) That the short order was no doubt silent about the necklace but in the detailed order the confiscation of the necklace did figure with the explanation that the necklace was ordered to be forfeited in lieu of non paymentof the fine of U.S $ 8.6 million.

xii) That the short order was prepared and announced on 15th April, 1999,and the date initially mentioned therein was a typographical error pure and simple which was duly rectified.

(xiii) That mere fact that a judge has dealt with another matter earlier in respect of a party to the legal proceedings before him or has given certain decisions against such a party upon interlocutory applications in the proceedings before him will not render him disqualified from hearing the case.

(xiv) That bias in a judge is to be shown as a matter of fact and not merely as a matter of opinion….

(xv) That “mere suspicion of bias even if it is not unreasonable is not sufficient to render a decision void. A real likelihood of bias must be established”. A mere apprehension in the mind of a litigant that he may not get justice, such as based on influence from circumstances is not sufficient.

14. In support of the last three submissions, reliance was placed on Benazir Bhutto v. President of Pakistan and Another (1992 SCMR 140).

15. Learned counsel for the State also referred to the distinction drawn between the case of bias of a judge of a subordinate court and that of a superior court inasmuch as in the latter case, the judges of the superior courts were held to have a “judicial conscience”.

16. Mr.Aziz A. Munshi, learned Attorney General for Pakistan defended the impugned order and also controverted the element of any bias of the learned senior member of the Bench on the grounds pressed into service by Mr. S.M. Zafar, learned Sr.ASC and additionally opposed Crl. Misc. Applications No.50 and 64 of 2001 by filing a detailed reply.

FINDINGS

17. Since the main plank of the case of the learned counsel for both the appellants is the ‘bias’ of Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. senior member of the Ehtesab Bench against the appellants, we have decided to examine it at the outset.

18. The foremost question is what is ‘bias’. Bias has been described in Corpus Juris Secundum, Volume X pp. 354 and 355 as under:

“BIAS. Primarily, a diagonal or slant, especially of a seam, cut, or line across a fabric; and so derivatively, a leaning of the mind; a mental predilection or prejudice; anything which turns a man to a particular course; a particular influential power which sways the judgment; a preconceived opinion; a sort of emotion constituting untrustworthy partiality; bent, inclination, prepossession, propension, or tendency, which sways the mind toward one opinion rather than another; propensity toward an object, not leaving the mind indifferent. ‘Bias’ has been held synonymous with ‘partiality’ and strictly to be distinguished from ‘prejudice’. Under particular circumstances, the word has been described as a condition of mind; and has been held to refer, not to views entertained regarding a particular subject matter, but to the mental attitude or disposition toward a particular person, and to cover all varieties of personal hostility or prejudice against him. (Emphasis provided).

Garner on Administrative Law, 4th edition at page 122 has also attempted to define bias as a disqualification and in such context observed as follows:

“Not only is a person affected by an administrative decision entitled to have his case heard by the agency seized with its determination, but he may also insist on his case being heard by a fair Judge, one free from bias. Bias in this context has usually meant that the adjudicator must have no financial interest in the matter under dispute, but it is not necessarily so limited, and allegations of bias have been upheld in circumstances where there was no question of any financial interest.”

19. In this context, the following observations of Lord Denning M.R. in Metropolita Properties Co. (F.G.C.), Ltd. v. Lannon and Others [1968] 3 All E.R. 304 would be relevant:-

“A man may be disqualified from sitting in a judicial capacity on one of two grounds. First, a ‘direct pecuniary interest’ in the subject-matter. Second, ‘bias’ in favour of one side against the other. So far as ‘pecuniary interest’ is concerned, I agree with the Divisional Court that there is no evidence that Mr. John Lannon had any direct pecuniary interest in the suit. He had no interest in any of the flats in Oakwood Court. The only possible interest was his father’s interest in having the rent of 55 Regency Lodge reduced. It was put in this way: if the committee reduced the rents of Oakwood Court, those rents would be used as ‘comparable’ for Regency Lodge, and might influence their being put lower than they otherwise would be. Even if we identify the son’s interest with the father’s, I think that this is too remote. It is neither direct nor certain. It is indirect and uncertain.

So far as bias is concerned, it was acknowledged that there was no actual bias on the part of Mr. Lannon, and no want of good faith. But it was said that there was, albeit unconscious, an area of likelihood of bias. This is a matter on which the law is not altogether clear; but I start with the oft-repeated saying of Lord Hewart, C.J., in R v Sussex Justices, ex p. McCarthy:

‘… it is not merely of some importance, but of fundamental importance, that justice should both be done and be manifestly seen to be done’.”

20. In our own context, the Code of Conduct framed by the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 128(4) of the erstwhile Constitution of Pakistan, 1962 for the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts in Pakistan provides in Article IV as under:-

“A Judge must decline resolutely to act in a case involving his own interest, including those of persons whom he regards and treats as near relatives or close friends. A Judge must refuse to deal with any case in which he has a connection with one party or its lawyer more than the other, or even with both parties and their lawyers. To ensure that justice is not only done, but is also seen to be done, a Judge must avoid all possibility of his opinion or action in any case being swayed by any consideration of personal advantage, either direct or indirect”

21. In reaching the conclusion that Mr. John Lannon was biased Lord Denning
employed the following terse phraseology:-

“It brings home this point; in considering whether there was a real likelihood of bias, the Court does not look at the mind of the justice himself or at the mind of the chairman of the tribunal, or whoever it may be, who sits in a judicial capacity. It does not look to see if there was a real likelihood that he should, or did, in fact favour one side at the expense of the other. The court looks at the impression which would be given to other people. Even if he was as impartial as could be, nevertheless, if right-minded persons would think that, in the circumstances, there was a real likelihood of bias on his part, then he should not sit. And if he does sit, his decision cannot stand.

There must be circumstances from which a reasonable man would think it likely or probable that the justice, or chairman, as the case may be, would, or did, favour one side unfairly at the expense of the other. The Court will not enquire whether he did, in fact, favour one side unfairly. Suffice it that reasonable people might think he did. The reason is plain enough. Justice must be rooted in confidence; and confidence is destroyed when right-minded people go away thinking: ‘The judge was biased.’”(emphasis provided).

Applying these principles, I ask myself: Ought Mr. John Lannonto have sat? I think not. If he was himself a tenant in difference with his landlord about the rent of his flat, he clearly ought not to sit on a case against the selfsame landlord, also about the rent of a flat, albeit another flat. In this case he was not a tenant, but the son of a tenant; but that makes no difference. No reasonable man would draw any distinction between him and his father, seeing that he was living with him and assisting him with his case. Test it quite simply: if Mr. John Lannon were to have asked any of his friends: ‘I have been asked to preside in a case about the rents charged by the Freshwater Group of Companies at Oakwood Court. But I am already assisting my father in his case against them, about the rent of his flat in Regency Lodge, where I am living with him. Do you think I can properly sit?’ The answer of any of his good friends would surely have been: ‘No, you should not sit. You are already acting, or as good as acting, against them. You should not, at the same time, sit in judgment on them’. No man can be an advocate for or against a party in one proceeding. Everyone would agree that judge, or a barrister or solicitor (when he sits ad hoc as a member of a tribunal) should not sit on a case to which a near relative or a close friend is a party. So, also, a barrister or solicitor should not sit on a case to which one of his clients is a party; nor on a case where he is already acting against one of the parties. Inevitably people would think he would be biased.

I hold, therefore, that Mr. John Lannon ought not to have sat on this rent assessment committee. The decision is violable on that account and should be avoided. Although we are differing from the Divisional Court, I would like to say that we have had a good deal more information than that court had. In particular, we have seen a letter of Jan 13, 1967, and other things not before them when they gave their ruling. Otherwise I would not have thought it right to interfere. I would allow the appeal and remit the case to another rent assessment committee. Let it be heard again as soon as may be” (emphasis provided).

22. The element of bias in a judge was considered by the Federal Court of Pakistanin the case of Anwar and Another v The Crown PLD 1955 FC 185. ln that case, the Federal Court had the occasion to reconsider an earlier case of Khairdi Khan v Crown(PLD 1953 FC 223). In the former case, the case of Khairdi Khan (supra) was reconsidered by the Federal Court in which an appeal had been allowed because the High Court in its revisional jurisdiction had arrived at a definite finding of fact while ordering the retrial after setting aside an acquittal. In the latter case of Khairdi Khan, the late Abdul Rashid, CJ. inferred that the sessions judge who tried the case would not be able to deliver an unbiased judgment for the reason of observations made by the High Court. But the late Muhammad Munir, CJ. disagreed with the judgment in Khairdi Khan’s case and held as under:-

“We are, therefore, perfectly entitled to hold, as we do in this case after a full argument that the rule laid down in Khairdi Khan’s case that bias vitiated all judgments and all orders made by a Judge are void is incorrect and should no longer form part of the law of Pakistan.”

23. Nonetheless the late Muhammad Munir, Chief Justice, was constrained to hold that the accused has a right of a fair trial by a judicial minded person, not functioning under an influence which might paralyse his judicial faculties as to result in the absence of a fair trial. The learned Chief Justice also held that bias may be caused by a judgment, order or observation of a superior Court or it may spring from personal, political, religious, communal, racial, commercial or economic considerations. The other conclusion recorded by the Chief Justice is that bias would vitiate judicial proceedings if such circumstances are created or brought about by the Judge as would rob him of the confidence that a litigant may have in the Judge. We can do no better than reproduce as under the observations of late Munir, CJ:-

“Thus no Judge can be a Judge in his own cause, or in a case in which he is personally interested, not because his decision must invariably be in his own favour but on the principle that justice must not only be done but see[n] to be done, and however right the Judge deciding a cause in his own favour may be, neither the public nor the aggrieved party will be satisfied with the adjudication, and its result will be vacated by the Court of Appeal at the instance of the dissatisfied party.”

24. It may be added at this juncture that the consideration of bias is a branch of the principles of natural justice. It is now agreed on all hands that there are certain broad principles of natural justice deducible from two Latin maxims firstly, Nemo Debet EsseJudex in Propria Sua Causa which formed the foundation of the doctrine firstly, that no one can be a judge in his own cause which in a wide application means that a judicial or quasi-judicial authority not only himself [must] not be a party but must also not be interested as a party in the subject-matter of the dispute which he has to decide and; the second principle is Audi Alteram Partem (hear the other side). Bias is said to be of three different kinds:

(a) A Judge may have a bias in the subject-matter which means that he is himself a party or has direct connection with the litigation, so as to constitute a legal interest. A ‘legal interest’ means that the Judge is ‘in such a position that a bias must be assumed’.

(b) A pecuniary interest in the cause, however, slight, will disqualify the Judge, even though it is not proved that the decision has in fact been affected by reason of such interest. For this reason, where a person having such interest sits as one of the Judges the decision is vitiated.

(c) A Judge may have a personal bias towards a party owing to relationship and the like or he may be personally hostile to a party as a result of events happening either before or during the trial. Whenever there is any allegation of personal bias, the question which should be satisfied is: “Is there in the mind of the litigant a reasonable apprehension that he would not get a fair trial?” The test is whether there is a “real likelihood of prejudice”, but it does not require certainty.“Real likelihood” is the apprehension of a reasonable man apprised of the facts and not the suspicion of fools or “capricious persons”.(emphasis provided).

25. No doubt, the judges of the superior courts are blessed with a judicial conscience but the question nonetheless is whether a particular judge of the subordinate or the superior judiciary against whom the allegation of bias is alleged is possessed of judicial conscience. This litmus test is indeed very difficult but certainly not impossible. The circumstances of a particular case wherein bias of a judge is alleged would themselves speak volumes for the same. In other words, the principle is well settled that a judge of the Superior Court is a keeper of his own conscious and it is for him to decide to hear or not to hear a matter before him. However, in the present case we are not inclined to adhere to the said settled principle because bias is floating on the surface of the record.

26. Admittedly, the assets etc of the two appellants were frozen by the Bench headed by Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. in Ehtesab Reference No. 26/1998 on 27thApril, 1998. This fact also stands admitted that Ehtesab Reference No. 26/1998 was temporarily entrusted to the Bench headed by Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. The undisputed material made available on the record makes it manifest that Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. had already moved an application for the grant of a diplomatic passport for himself and his wife which had reached the Prime Minister Secretariat on the 17th April, 1998, along with the following summary:-
SECRET

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SUMMARY FOR THE PRIME MINISTER

Subject: Request for Issuance of Diplomatic Passports to

Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum, Judge Lahore

High Court and his Wife.

1. The Ministry of Law has requested for grant of diplomatic passports to Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum, Judge Lahore High Court and his wife.

2. According to the rules covering the issuance of diplomatic passports, Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum and his wife are not entitled to hold a diplomatic passport. It may further be noted that Judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court are not entitled to the grant of diplomatic passports. If an exception is made in one case, other members of the Judiciary are likely to ask for similar privileges. This Ministry is, therefore, not in favour of making an exception in the case.

3. The Prime Minister’s kind orders are nevertheless solicited on Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum’s request.

4. The Foreign Minister has seen and approved the Summary.

Sd/-
(Anwar Kemal)
Acting Foreign Secretary
Prime Minister’s Secretariat (Mr.Tauqir Hassain, Additional
Secretary (FA), Islamabad).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs U.O.No. S/FS/AD 56/98 dated 17-3-1998.

Prime Minister has been pleased to approve Para 1 above: grant of diplomatic passports to Mr. Justice Malik M. Qayyum, Judge, Lahore High Court and his wife.

Sd/-

Secretary, Foreign Affairs 30-041998”

27. It is noteworthy that on the same summary the following direction was given by Senator Saifur Rehman, who was then in charge of Ehtesab Cell, to one of his subordinate
Officers:-

“Mr.Sami Khilji please have it delivered to Justice Qayyum”

Regards Sd/-

Saif

28. The order with regard to the freezing of properties and assets etc. of the appellants was passed on 27th April, 1998 while on 30th April, 1998, the Prime Minister approved the grant of diplomatic passports to the learned Judge and his wife ignoring the formidable objection raised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was candidly conceded by the learned Attorney General for Pakistan that no Judge of the Superior Courts is entitled to grant of a diplomatic passport except the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

29. The unchallenged document in respect of the grant of diplomatic passports not onlygoes a long way to suggest that Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. had acquired a personal interest in the case by deriving an out of the way favour of the grant of diplomatic passports to him and his wife but also divulges a close liaison between the learned Judge, Senator Saifur Rehman and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister whose political rivalry with Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant is a matter of common knowledge.

30. There is yet another undisputed circumstance, highlighted by Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, from which inference of partiality of the learned Judge and liaison with the then Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif can be safely drawn. It is that Malik Parvez, real brother of Malik Muhammad Qayyum J., was a sitting Member National Assembly of PML (N) having been elected unopposed through a bye-election against a seat vacated by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

31. The order of de=freezing of the assets of the appellants passed by another Bench seized of Reference No.26 of 1998 was not produced before us. Be that as it may, the order appears to have aggravated and not diminished the personal interest of Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. in the case whose link with Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who was diametrically opposed to Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant cannot be denied. This conclusion of ours gets complete support from the principle enunciated in para 22 of the judgment in the case of Ms. Benazir Bhutto v. President of Pakistan 1992SCMR 140 that “there seems to be judicial consensus that a Judge having pecuniary or proprietary interest or any other personal interest in the subject matter of a case before him cannot hear the case(emphasis provided).

32. Initially Ehtesab Reference No. 30/1998 was pending at Lahore from where it was transferred by this Court on 14th December, 1998 to Rawalpindi Bench of Lahore HighCourt vide judgment in the case of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto supra (1999 SCMR 759).At that time an Ehtesab Bench comprising Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi and SheikhAmjad Ali, JJ. was already functioning and was seized of, inter alia, another Ehtesab Reference No.31/1998 pending decision against Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Not withstandingthe ratio of the judgment of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto supra being that the Reference aforesaid be heard at Rawalpindi by the Ehtesab Bench functioning there, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. somehow or other managed to have the Reference heard by the Bench headed by him even at Rawalpindi. It would, therefore, be worth-while to reproduce hereunder para 51 of the Short Order in the case of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,supra:-

“At present, two Ehtesab References are pending against the petitioners at Rawalpindi Bench of Lahore High Court (Ehtesab Reference 32 and 33/98) while five References against the petitioners are pending at principal seat of Lahore High Court (ReferenceNos.26,27,29,30 and 31/98). As the petitioners, inter alia, have their residence in Islamabad, it is directed that References Nos. 26,27,29,30and 31 of 1998 which are being heard at principal seat of Lahore High Court, will henceforth be heard at the Rawalpindi Bench of Lahore High Court where two Ehtesab Reference are already pending against them.”

33. The judgment of this Court was mis-interpreted as if the Ehtesab Bench was ordered to be transferred to Rawalpindi Bench rather than the Reference itself.

34. It appears from the record that notifications were issued by the then learned Chief Justice Lahore High Court, from time to time to enable Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J.to visit Rawalpindi to hear Ehtesab Reference No.30/1998 and to be present on each and every date of hearing of the afore-noted Reference. It supports the contention of the learned counsel for the appellants that Reference No.30/1998 was virtually“ chased” by Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. and the exercise had caused substantial financial loss to the state exchequer. The “chase” thus given amply demonstrates the keen interest of Malik Muhammad Qayyum, J. to impose himself on the matter and take it to its end according to his pre-conceived notions.

35. In course of hearing of Reference by the learned Judges, the following circumstances stare into one’s eyes from which the inescapable deduction is an urge to proceed hastily to reach the foregone conclusion. First and foremost circumstance is the separation of trial of appellants from their other ten co-accused. No doubt the said course of action is permissible in law but that can only be done after complying with the requirements of law. Under Section 512 Cr.P.C. the trial can be bifurcated but before that it has to be adjudged that the other co-accused are avoiding to face the trial or their presence cannot be procured without any amount of delay. In the present case, the summonses were sent to Switzerland to the foreigner accused and the report received back revealed that a period of thirty days was required to effect the service. The learned Judges in haste did neither wait for the requisite period nor repeated the process and separated the trial. In this context there is nothing on the record to show the mode of service or issuance of the process against the co-accused of the appellants particularly when A.R. Siddiqui the then Chairman CBR and Khalil Ahmad, Chief Collector Customs were in Pakistan. Their attendance could, therefore, have been secured, but the learned Judges do not seem to have taken any step to procure their attendance. It seems that the only target for the trial was the person of the appellants. In our view the failure to procure attendance of the co-accused of the two appellants and the consequential orders were motivated.

36. The record reveals the glaring injustice meted out to Asif Ali Zardari appellant when the Court declined to grant him permission to recall certain witnesses for the purpose of cross-examination. The learned Judges proceeded to observe, vide order dated 22ndFebruary, 1999, that since no prejudice had been caused as the defence of both the appellants was joint, therefore, there was no necessity to afford an opportunity to the appellant Asif Ali Zardari to cross-examine the said witnesses. It may be pointed out that because of freezing of assets and funds, the appellant Asif Ali Zardari had expressed his inability to engage a counsel of his choice to cross-examine those witnesses. Admittedly, Asif Ali Zardari appellant had not cross-examined PWs 1 to 5and PW11 and the learned Judges had observed that if at a subsequent stage it was felt that some prejudice had been caused due to non-availability of a counsel for Asif Ali Zardari appellant, the Court would consider recalling the aforesaid witnesses for further cross-examination. Having observed so, the learned Judges declined to allow to Asif Ali Zardari appellant an opportunity to recall and cross-examine those witnesses. In our view, it was an invaluable right of Asif Ali Zardari appellant to recall and cross examine those witnesses for ensuring a fair trial. Denial of such right had caused failure of justice and had prejudiced the appellants in their defence, besides reflecting bias.

37. The mode and manner in which the statement of Ms. Benazir Bhutto under section342 Cr.P.C. was recorded leaves no doubt in our mind that the provision of section 342Cr.P.C. was abused with a view to reach at a hasty conclusion. The underlying object of section 342 Cr.P.C. is to enable an accused to explain the incriminating circumstances in the prosecution evidence appearing against him. In our view, this is the most valuable right being a sacrosanct principle of natural justice. No doubt, the attendance of Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant had been exempted but as she was available in Pakistan, it was incumbent upon the learned Judges to have summoned her for recording her statement. The features of the prosecution case also necessitated her examination in person. To our utter dismay the learned Judges opted not to do so and considering the compliance of the provisions of law sufficient by recording the statement of her counsel who according to the learned counsel for the appellants was not authorised to speak on her behalf. According to Ms Benazir Bhutto appellant, when she came to know that her statement under section 342 Cr.P.C had been got recorded through her counsel she at once made an application to supplement her statement under section 342 Cr.P.C. and made a supplementary statement in writing containing answers to all the questions put to her counsel and requested the Court to treat thestatement in writing as her statement under section 342 Cr.P.C. but queerly enough her said statement was ignored. The circumstance is also a link in the bias.

38. In the course of trial, while the statement of Hassan Waseem Afzal (PW14) was being recorded, an application under section 476 Cr.P.C. was moved by the learned counsel of Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant for taking action against the witness for producing allegedly fabricated documents. The learned Judges directed the prosecution to file reply which was done by Hassan Waseem Afzal in his personal capacity. The learned Judges, in post-haste appointed a Commission consisting of Mr.Moazzam Hayat, the then Registrar, Lahore High Court for proceeding to Switzerland to ascertain the genuineness and authenticity of those documents. This order was passed on 1st March, 1999, with the direction to the Commission to submit its report within ten days. The Commission issued notice to the learned counsel for Ms. Benazir Bhutto appellant to appear before him in Switzerland on 5th March, 1999. Imagine, how could a counsel or an accused appear in Switzerland in four days particularly when travel arrangements had to be made and a visa to be obtained. This order was challenged in this Court which suspended the order of appointment of Commission and proceedings before it. However, this order was vacated on 8th March, 1999 when Mr.Moazzam Hayat was already in Geneva. After vacation of the order without issuing a fresh notice to the appellant, the Commission proceeded to execute the Commission. In this context, the exact grievance is reproduced hereunder:

“The matter came up for hearing on 1st March, 1999 and the learned Ehtesab Bench passed an order for production of defence evidence by the petitioner and adjourned the case [to] 8th March, 1999 for the purpose. During the proceedings of the case the Special Public Prosecutor pressed the plea taken in the written reply on behalf of Hassan Wasim Afzal, P.W.14, for issuance of commission to verify the genuineness and the authenticity of certified copies of documents tendered in evidence by the prosecution. It is alleged that no order was passed when the case was adjourned in presence of both the parties. At about 4.00 p.m. it was communicated by the Additional Registrar of the Lahore High Court at Rawalpindi to Mr.Farooq H. Neak, Advocate, on telephone, that the impugned order has been passed by the learned Ehtesab Bench and despite request, copy of the order was not provided.”

39. The manner of the appointment of the Commission and the Commission having proceeded to Geneva and the steps taken by it in Geneva shows a mysterious hidden hand behind it.

40. While challenging the appointment of Commission, the question of admissibility of the documents produced by Hassan Waseem Afzal (PW14) was agitated and leave was granted by this Court. At the time of disposal of the appeal, this Court passed the order in the case of Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto v. the State PLD 1999 SC 937 [i.e. to provide adequate opportunity to the parties to raise any objection against the report including the question of the admissibility of the disputed documents before disposing of the Reference]. We are sorry to observe that in flagrant disregard of the directions issued by this Court the learned Judges proceeded to decide the case in its entirety whereas learned Judges should have taken up the question of admissibility of documents first as ordained by this Court. The learned Judges, after receipt of the report of Commission, treated it as an incriminating circumstance but we have noticed that this important piece of allegedly incriminating evidence was not put to the accused.

41. Another intriguing circumstance consists of the statement of Mr. Ali Sabtain Fazali, learned Special Public Prosecutor. It was pointed out by the appellants that his statement was in fact recorded by the learned Ehtesab Bench itself giving up three very important prosecution witnesses including V. A. Jaferi, Javed Talat and Khalil Ahmad. Ostensibly it was done by the learned Judges with a view to delivering the judgment hastily and this statement was merely read over by the Court to the learned Special Public Prosecutor who admitted it to be correct. This strange procedure was prima facie adopted in order to hasten the proceedings and to reach the foregone conclusion.

42. We have considered all the above noted features of the case and we have also noted the fate of the application moved by the learned counsel for Asif Ali Zardari appellant under Section 265-K of Cr.P.C. The atmosphere must have been highly charged. It can also be imagined when on the intervention of the Court the proceedings were drastically cut short by the learned Judges; the defence evidence was restricted to the recording of the statement of a solitary defence witness, namely, Muhammad Nawaz, Superintendent Landhi Jail as DW1. Suddenly the Court rises, retires to the Chambers, re-appears after a while and the short order is handed down on 15th April,1999 which appears to have been pre-authored bearing the date as 14th April, 1999,which was scored off and corrected.

43. At this stage, it will be pertinent to mention that the Ehtesab Bench which tried and convicted the appellants consisted of two learned Judges. It appears from the record that Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. being the senior member of the Bench had exerted his influence on the second member S. Najamul Hassan Kazmi J. who being an unconfirmed Judge of the Lahore High Court was sweating for confirmation. We have taken judicial notice of the relevant Notifications issued by the Government of Pakistan in the Ministry of Law, Justice, Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs dated 27thMay, 1997, 26th May, 1998 and 13th May, 1999 that the said learned member of the Bench was appointed as Additional Judge of the Lahore High Court for a period of one year but the tenure was extended for a further period of one year with effect from 28thMay, 1998 and he was ultimately appointed as a permanent Judge on 13th May, 1999.

44. In support of this appeal an attempt was made at the bar that the learned Judges were not applying independent minds and had been pressurised and coaxed by the authorities in power to oust the appellants from the arena of politics by securing their disqualification to hold public office. On behalf of the appellants certain audio tapesand their transcripts were attempted to be brought on the record. It was argued that Mr. Khalid Anwar, the then Law Minister, Mr. Rashid Aziz Khan J., the then Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Senator Saifur Rehman and Malik Muhammad Qayyum J. were clandestinely in league with each other to secure the conviction of the appellants at the behest of the then Prime Minister of Pakistan. The other side took a categorical stance that the audio-tapes were fake and in any event were extraneous for the purpose of determination of the matter in controversy in the appeal.

45. There is no need to advert to the audio-tapes and their transcripts as there is sufficient material on record which substantiates the allegation of bias. We are convinced that the trial in this case was not fair and on account of bias of the Ehtesab Bench, highlighted in preceding paragraphs, the trial of appellants stands vitiated.

46. Resultantly, the titled appeals are accepted, convictions recorded against and the sentences awarded to the appellants are set aside and the case is remitted to the Court of competent jurisdiction for trial afresh in accordance with law. This disposes of the connected matters as well.

47. Before parting with the judgment we are inclined to dispose of plea of Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, learned Sr.ASC to the effect that Asif Ali Zardari, appellant had already served out the substantive sentence of imprisonment and, therefore, he is entitled to be released from jail. As we have already sent the case to a Court of competent jurisdiction, it would be more appropriate if this matter is agitated before the Court aforesaid.

"UNQUOTE"

2 comments:

goney said...

i am appriciate your views

goney said...

yes Mr Kamran Khan Antik Democracy and Anti PPPP and Anti Pakistamn