Two petitions were filed in the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday against the release of two police officers who were convicted in the Benazir Bhutto murder case but later granted bail.
Saud Aziz, who was police chief of Rawalpindi when Bhutto was assassinated in 2007, and Khurram Shahzad, a former Superintendent of Police (SP) at Rawal Town, had been awarded 17 years in jail for negligence in security arrangements which subsequently led to the assassination of the former prime minister in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh. They were also fined Rs1 million each by an Anti-Terrorism Court which heard the case.
However, they were released by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on October 6 after paying Rs200,000 in surety bonds each.
Their release was challenged on Wednesday in two separate petitions filed in the SC on behalf of Rashida Bibi, widow of the slain former prime minister's security guard, Akram Kaira, who had died alongside the politician in the Liaqat National Bagh blast in 2007. Advocate Latif Khosa filed the petitions on her behalf.
The petition argued that the release of Aziz and Shahzad is against the law and based on ill intentions, while requesting the SC to suspend the LHC's decision. The appeal claims that the high court did not review the facts before accepting the officers' bail, even though criminal intent had been proven in the verdict issued by the anti-terrorism court.
It further stated that both the officers retained their jobs in the police force despite being nominated in the case, which dragged on for 10 years. The petition accuses Aziz and Shahzad of exploiting their positions.
Aziz was charged for removing Superintendent of Police Ishfaq Anwar from Liaquat Bagh and not conducting an autopsy on the body of Ms Bhutto.
Meanwhile, Shehzad was charged with washing the crime scene and destroying potential evidence that may have led investigators to the terrorists.
Both the officers had appealed against the sentence in the LHC and were released.