News In Brief

Pakistani courts begin taking evidence in overthrow case

Military courts began hearing evidence this week against more than 70 people accused of plotting to topple the martial-law regime of President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq. About 40 others, including the two sons of executed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, are being tried in absentia for ''conspiring to overthrow the government established by law.'' President Zia seized power in July 1977 after deposing Mr. Bhutto, who was later hanged. Under a special presidential decree, the accused are guilty unless proved innocent. As is common in military trials, the proceedings are closed to the public.

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