A Pakistani special court announced on December 17, 2019, that the former Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death in the charge of high treason. The court comprised of the three-judge bench namely Justice Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High court and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court, which announced the verdict.
Pervez Musharraf led the 1999 military coup which overthrew the popularly elected Nawaz Sharif’s Government. He started ruling Pakistan after winning the post of President in a 2002 referendum. After the self-appointment for a second presidential term, Musharraf declared the state of emergency on November 29, 2007.
Political Misdeeds of Musharraf during 1999-2008
Pervez Musharraf had been charged for treason for the suspension of the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in the country in November 2007 which led to the detention of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges.
A nationwide protest erupted after Musharraf’s attempt to oust the chief justice in March 2007; as a result, he imposed a state of national emergency in the country. During the emergency which was short-lived from November 2007 to February 2008, he suspended all civil liberties, human rights, and democratic processes. The treason charge against Musharraf was initiated by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2013.
Musharraf stepped down from the post of President in 2008 after his party and allies lost in February 2008 elections. The new coalition Government had sent him into exile until his return in Pakistan in 2013. After three years, he made self-exile for himself and never returned again.
Charges of Treason against Musharraf
The trial against Musharraf was delayed as he left Pakistan for Dubai in March 2016 under the pretext of health problems. As a news agency reported in October 2019, “Musharraf was admitted to a hospital in Dubai under the claim that he has been suffering a rare disease called, Amyloidosis.”
However, the special court had ordered Musharraf to record his statements by December 5, 2019. Musharraf had issued a video recording about his conditions that he would not be available for the trail.
Since Musharraf’s failure to present himself, the court announced, “The former Pakistan President was declared an absconder as he failed to appear in court despite repeated summons and the court issued a directive to the country’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to arrest him.”
Salman Nadeem, a Government law officer, commented, “Pervez Musharraf has been found guilty of article 6 for violation of the constitution of Pakistan.” According to a news media, “The court’s full ruling was not available but it said in a summary it had analyzed complaints, records, arguments, and facts in the case and had reached a majority verdict, with two of the three judges giving the decision against Musharraf.”
Musharraf challenged the special court verdict and asked the Lahore High Court to suspend the decision as the trial was conducted in his absence. He stated in a video clip, “I served the nation and made decisions for the betterment of the country.”
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