THE post-death conspiracy is no less painful. Everyone has chipped in to ensure that the killers of Benazir Bhutto have remained practically untried five years after her assassination. The government has juggled with challans and suspects. No less than five trial judges have heard the case. Defence lawyers have been too busy in other work and their cause has been helped by the prosecution itself seeking adjournments. Amid all this, the PPP government has been subjected to criticism over its inability to deliver on its promise of bringing Ms Bhutto’s murderers to justice. Its efforts to find the killers have certainly been sluggish. The party’s current minders have been too keen promoting the grand ideal of democracy to focus fully on the murder case. Instead, the party has been exploring the political mileage to be gained from the contrast between not trying Ms Bhutto’s murderers and a ‘trial of her grave’ — a reference to the reopening of the Swiss cases.
In his speech on the fifth death anniversary of Ms Bhutto, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari blamed the chief justice of Pakistan for the slow movement on the murder case. He also pointed to the PPP’s desire to keep the system running even when its own people were being targeted and killed. This is a statement which strengthens the impression that the demands of staying in power — which is synonymous with vows to sustain the system — can weaken a party’s resolve to nab the killers of a leader in whose name it had come to power. These very demands compelled the PPP to embrace the party it called the ‘Qatil’ League. While justice must be seen to be done, Ms Bhutto’s party and heirs must display determination and not appear in the light of a prosecution and investigation half-prepared for the job. The court recently ordered expeditious hearing of the case. It is the judiciary’s responsibility to ensure speedy justice — not only because the head of the ruling party demands it but because this is one truth that all institutions owe to the Pakistani people.