On Wednesday, a Sindh High Court judge cleared Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP co-chairman and widower of Benazir Bhutto, of charges of conspiracy and murder of his brother-in-law Murtaza Bhutto‘s murder case. Murtaza, the brother of Benazir (and father of Fatima Bhutto), was gunned down in an alleged shoot-out with Karachi police on September 20, 1996. Zardari was arrested on conspiracy charges shortly after the PPP government was dissolved and was jailed for six years pending a trial in the case. However, yesterday, the SHC “quashed criminal proceedings,” finding that the prosecution was unable to prove the conspiracy charges against Zardari, reported The News.
BBC News underscored the significance of the verdict in its coverage, noting it was “the last case against him in the local courts and clears the way for him to stand for election to the parliament.” Although Zardari was not present at court, “Dozens of PPP activists inside the court cheered the announcement…” The BBC added, “Many believe that if Mr. Zardari stands for election to national parliament, it would be just a step towards his final goal of becoming the country’s next prime minister.”
I would actually be interested to hear the reaction of Fatima Bhutto, now a columnist with The News, to the news, particularly since she has repeatedly accused Benazir, who was the PM at the time of her father’s death, of being “morally responsible” for the murder [see below, her interview with CNN in January].