A full bench of the Sind High Court dismissed two petitions of habeas corpus seeking the release of the condemned former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The same full bench also dismissed another petition challenging the assumption of office as the Chief Justice of Pakistan by Justice Anwar-ul-Haque. Bhutto had filed his habeas corpus petition from his death cell in the Rawalpindi district jail through his counsel, Abdul Hafeez Peerzada, while his daughter Benazir’s petition was filed yesterday.
Charan under attack
Kalpnath Rai, the Congress-I parliamentary party secretary, demanded that the deputy prime minister, Charan Singh, must establish his “innocence” in the UP land deal before a commission of inquiry. In a statement, he said Charan Singh should “quit the government” before the appointment of the commission “in the interest of impartial inquiry”. He also demanded that prosecution should start against his son-in-law and nephew under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Rai alleged that the Union finance minister had “full knowledge of the deal” and that “it was done with the consent of his family”. He said Singh’s statement in the Rajya Sabha on March 28, disclosing the steps he had taken to reverse the land sale, amounted to destruction of evidence of the offence by his son-in-law and nephew, with the intention of screening them from legal punishment. This was far more serious than the original offence.
Polls called in UK
Queen Elizabeth II called a general election for May 3, following the ouster of the prime minister James Callaghan’s minority Labour government. Callaghan’s office said the monarch set April 7 for the dissolution of the current Parliament and May 9 for the first session of the new Parliament. The monarch normally calls an election on a date recommended by the outgoing prime minister.