‘You, Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Are To Be Hanged’: When A Former PM Was Murdered
On March 18 1978 at 08.20 AM Chief Justice Mushtaq Hussain of Lahore High Court read out the verdict in the Nawab Mohammad Ahmad Khan Kasuri case. Former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was awarded death sentence along with 3 others.
The verdict stated that the major accused was the conspirator, and that he turned the FSF into an instrument against his political opponents. A few days after the verdict, a British journalist asked General Zia if Bhutto would be actually hanged. He replied that the matter was still in the court but nobody was above the law.
In the evening of April 3, the jail superintendent visited Bhutto in his cell, along with a witness and called Bhutto’s name. He then read out the execution order.
“According to the March 18, 1978 order of the LHC, you, Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, are to be hanged for the murder of Nawab Mohammad Ahmad Khan.”
Col Rafiuddin who was standing beside the superintendent said he did not see any sign of panic on Bhutto’s face. Instead, he had a smile on his face. At 2:04 AM, the executioner whispered something into Bhutto’s ear And then pressed the lever.
The former prime minister was no more. Bhutto’s execution ordered by the dictator and facilitated by the courts was termed as a judicial murder later on. This treatment meted out to an elected prime minister remains a sad reminder of excesses committed by military dictator in Pakistan.