BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Bhutto trial judge resigns
Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto
Ms Bhutto and her husband were convicted in 1999
A senior judge in Pakistan, who convicted former prime minister Benazir Bhutto of corruption, has resigned after being accused of bias by the Supreme Court.

Justice Malik Qayyum presided over the trial two years ago which found Ms Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, guilty of receiving kickbacks from a Swiss firm.

They were each sentenced to five years in prison and fined around $9m.

The court also declared that the two were ineligible to hold public office.

Whilst Asif Zardari has been in prison since November 1996, Benazir Bhutto was convicted in absentia.

Under pressure

In April the Supreme Court ruled that Justice Qayyum had been politically motivated and ordered a retrial after overturning both convictions.

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court ruled the judge was politically motivated
The Supreme Court's reversal of the verdict and its observations on the trial judge sent shock waves across legal circles.

Some leading jurists and lawyers' organisations demanded that Justice Qayyum's step down.

The BBC's Shahid Malik in Lahore said he could even have faced charges in the Supreme Judicial Council, the constitutional body authorised to impeach judges of the superior courts.

But, speaking to a Lahore-based English language newspaper, Justice Malik Qayyum said he was not under pressure to resign but was quitting "only for the dignity of the judiciary".

Before his resignation Justice Qayyum was in line to be the next Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court.

He is also the son of a former Supreme Court judge, Malik Akram.

Mr Akram was one of seven judges to uphold the death penalty for Benazir Bhutto's father - and Pakistan's first elected Prime Minister - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

06 Apr 01 | South Asia
Benazir Bhutto's extraordinary career
09 Jun 01 | South Asia
Bhutto given jail sentence
26 Feb 01 | South Asia
Bhutto challenges corruption verdict
09 Aug 00 | South Asia
Politics ban for Sharif and Bhutto
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories