RAWALPINDI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi on Tuesday rejected an application filed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to become a party in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, DawnNews reported.

During the proceedings, ATC judge Chaudhry Habibur Rehman heard a request filed by the PPP to become party in the case relating to the murder of the former prime minister.

Earlier last week, PPP had decided to become a party in the murder case and had submitted two applications to gain access to the case records.

A public prosecutor had been engaged in the case when the court began its proceedings. However, on its exit from power, the PPP had decided to lead the case itself.

During today's hearing, PPP’s Secretary General and counsel Sardar Latif Khosa submitted his power of attorney in the court.

Khosa presented his arguments before the court and said Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was the son of Benazir and now her legal heir, therefore the PPP should be allowed to become a party in the case.

The court said there was no scope for a political party to become party in a murder trial and after hearing the preliminary arguments presented by Khosa, rejected the PPP's application.

Speaking to media representatives after the hearing, Khosa said evidence pertaining to the former premier’s murder still had not been presented in court due to which the PPP had decided to become a party in the case.

He also clarified that if the PPP was to become a party in the case, it did not mean that the trial would have to be started afresh.

Khosa said the Scotland Yard was just supposed to identify the cause of Benazir’s death and not those responsible for the incident. He moreover said reports of Asif Ali Zardari’s refusal to conduct a post-mortem of Benazir’s body were incorrect, adding that it was the responsibility of the state institutions to ensure that an autopsy was carried out.

Meanwhile, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar alleged that Khosa had submitted his power of attorney in the court on the behalf of the heirs of Tauqir Kaira who was also killed in the Liaquat Bagh attack on Benazir.

The hearing of the case was subsequently adjourned to September 17.

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