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Published On: Tue, Dec 17th, 2019

Pakistan Court announces death sentence to former Prez Pervez Musharraf

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Pervez-Musharraf-Sentenced-To-Death-In-High-Treason-Case-1912170736-1912170755NEW DELHI/ ISLAMABAD : In a first in Pakistan’s history, a three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, today handed former military ruler Pervez Musharraf death sentence in the long-drawn high treason case.
Pervez Musharraf, 76, has been living in exile in Dubai since March 2016 after he left Pakistan for medical treatment and has not returned since citing health and security. In March, he was admitted to a hospital in Dubai after suffering from an ailment.

The former military dictator was sentenced to death today by a three-member bench of a special court in the long-drawn high treason case against him for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in the country in November 2007, a punishable offence for which he was indicted in 2014.

The trial in the case of the former military dictator for clamping the state of emergency in November 2007, had been pending since December 2013. Musharraf was indicted in March 2014 and the prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September, same year. However, due to litigation at appellate forums, the trial of the former military dictator lingered on and he left Pakistan in March 2016.
What’s the case about?
In November 2007, Gen Musharraf suspended the constitution and imposed emergency rule – a move which sparked protests. He resigned in 2008 to avoid the threat of impeachment.

This hand out picture released by Pakistan’s Press Information Department shows Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf addressing to the nation in Islamabad on August 18, 2008.
When Nawaz Sharif – an old rival whom he deposed in a coup in 1999 – was elected prime minister in 2013, he initiated a treason trial against Gen Musharraf and in March 2014 the former general was charged for high treason.
Gen Musharraf argued the case was politically motivated and that the actions he took in 2007 were agreed by the government and cabinet. But his arguments were turned down by the courts and he was accused of acting illegally.
According to the Pakistani constitution, anyone convicted of high treason could face the death penalty. Gen Musharraf has been living in Dubai since 2016 and he has steadfastly refused to appear before the court, despite multiple orders.
Why is it significant?
The indictment of Gen Musharraf in 2014 for treason was a highly significant moment in a country where the military has held sway for much of its independent history. Many of Pakistan’s army chiefs have either ruled the country directly after coups, as Gen Musharraf did, or wielded significant influence over policymaking during periods of civilian rule.
Gen Musharraf is known internationally for his support of the US “war on terror”But Gen Musharraf was the first army chief to be charged with such a crime and it is believed that the powerful military has watched the case carefully.Analysts say the institution is deeply aware that how the case proceeds could set a precedent.
Who is Gen Musharraf?
He was a appointed to lead the Pakistani army in 1998.The army’s involvement in the Kargil War in May 1999 caused a major rift between him and then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the army general seized power in a coup in 1999.
Serving as president until 2008, Gen Musharraf survived numerous assassination attempts and plots against him during his time in power. He is best known internationally for his role in the US “war on terror”, which he supported after the 9/11 attacks despite domestic opposition.
Gen Musharraf left the country after relinquishing the presidency in 2008, but returned in 2013 to contest the general elections, when he was barred from standing by the courts and was embroiled in several cases.
He appeared only twice in hearings for treason and earlier spent time at an army health facility or on his farm in Islamabad. He subsequently moved to Karachi in April 2014, where he lived until his departure two years later.
Nawaz Sharif is currently undergoing treatment in London after securing bail on medical grounds in a corruption case in which he was given seven years imprisonment.
(With inputs from Agencies).

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