Benazir Bhutto verdict: Convict officer guarded judge who delivered judgment; now to serve 17-year prison term

A top police officer sentenced to 17 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan in the Benazir Bhutto murder case was also the head of the security arrangements for the judge who pronounced the verdict

PTI September 01, 2017 16:15:13 IST
Benazir Bhutto verdict: Convict officer guarded judge who delivered judgment; now to serve 17-year prison term

Islamabad: A top police officer sentenced to 17 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan in the Benazir Bhutto murder case was also the head of the security arrangements for the judge who pronounced the verdict.

Senior Superintendent of Police Khurrum Shehzad was working as head of "Special Branch" and was responsible for the security of anti-terrorism court Judge Asghar Khan.

Benazir Bhutto verdict Convict officer guarded judge who delivered judgment now to serve 17year prison term

File image of Benazir Bhutto. Reuters

Khan delivered the verdict on Thursday, declaring former dictator Pervez Musharraf a fugitive and sentencing two senior police officers, including Shehzad, to 17 years in jail.

The judge sentenced former Rawalpindi City Police Officer Saud Aziz and Shahzad — suspects out on bail — to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh each.

Since the trial was held in Adial Jail, located in suburb of Rawalpindi, the judge had to travel from Rawalpindi city to the jail to announce the verdict which he had reserved on Wednesday at conclusion of the hearing.

As a militant linked with al-Qaeda was also accused of murder and held in the jail, it was feared that the militants might try to target the judge while on his way to the prison.

According to police official, Shehzad reached the jail early and was escorted by police and personally reviewed the security of the route.

"He looked calm and confident unlike his former boss Saud Aziz," the official said.

Aziz was Rawalpindi city police chief and Shehzad was working as Superintendent of Police under him when Bhutto was murdered on 27 December, 2007.

Aziz, who retired last month as Additional Inspector General Police, came early like Shehzad to hear the verdict.

Both officers waited for around six hours for the judge, who went to a special courtroom set up inside the jail after getting a green signal about security from Shehzad.

Later, Shehzad found himself at receiving end when he was found guilty by the judge and sentenced to 17 years along with the fine.

Shehzad like his ex-boss was arrested from the court premises to be lodged in the jail. Both convicts, however, can appeal against the sentence in the high court.

Bhutto, the Pakistan Peoples Party chief, and a two-time prime minister was killed along with more than 20 people in a gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh during an election campaign rally on 27 December, 2007. She was 54.

Updated Date:

also read

Why no Pakistan PM has been able to serve full-term — and this pattern may continue
Opinion

Why no Pakistan PM has been able to serve full-term — and this pattern may continue

Reasons why no prime minister in Pakistan has been able to finish a full term varied from assassinations to military coups to most recently a no-trust vote that took place on 10 April 2022

Pakistan: Elections will only be held after introduction of poll reforms, says Asif Zardari
World

Pakistan: Elections will only be held after introduction of poll reforms, says Asif Zardari

The senior political leader who played a key role in the vote of no-confidence motion moved by the opposition parties last month against Imran Khan said elections would be held once the incumbent coalition government completes both tasks

Clashes in Imran Khan's Islamabad rally not ruled out; Pakistan’s ex-PM likely to be booked for using ‘filthy’ language
World

Clashes in Imran Khan's Islamabad rally not ruled out; Pakistan’s ex-PM likely to be booked for using ‘filthy’ language

This comes after Imran’s address to the Abbottabad public gathering in Islamabad where he warned PM Shehbaz Sharif-led government that no power could stop them from entering the federal capital