Pak court orders speedy trial in Benazir assassination case

A Pakistani court today directed an anti-terrorism court to conduct daily hearings in the 2007 Benazir Bhutto assassination case and to conclude the trial within three months.

The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court issued the order after prosecutors from the Federal Investigation Agency complained that the trial had not been completed though five years had lapsed since Bhutto's assassination.

The two-judge bench heard a petition filed by the FIA, which asked it to direct the anti-terrorism court of Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman to conduct daily hearings.

The FIA said Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack on December 27, 2007 and it was regrettable that the high-profile case was in court even after the lapse of five years.

Special Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali contended that under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, the anti-terrorism court is bound to hold daily hearings of cases for their speedy disposal.

Ali informed the Lahore High Court that the lawyers for all the accused were using delaying tactics, which was evident from the fact that no other cases from 2007 were still pending in the anti-terrorism court.

Bhutto was killed by a suicide attacker shortly after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007.

Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman is also conducting the trial of seven men, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who have been charged with involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

That trial too has been hit by numerous delays.

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