Military receives verdict 'with lot of pain and anguish'
A special bench has sentenced former president Pervez Musharraf to death in a treason case under Article 6 of the Constitution. The law states that any person who abrogates or suspends the Constitution “by use of force or show of force” is guilty of high treason.
The three-member bench, comprising Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court and Sindh High Court’s Justice Nazar Akbar, announced the verdict after two judges voted in favour of giving him a death penalty while one opposed it.
The interior ministry had petitioned the court, asking for it to order the special court hearing the treason case to delay announcing the verdict.
Musharraf was indicted in the case in March 2014 for suspending the Constitution in 2007. In 2016, he left to seek medical treatment in Dubai and hasn’t returned since.
The special court was stopped from announcing the verdict on November 28. It was ordered to appoint a new prosecutor by December 5 and hear the arguments from Musharraf’s side before announcing any verdict in the interest of a fair trial.
On December 16, the Lahore High Court issued a notice to the federal government on Musharraf’s application challenging the high treason proceedings against him. Musharraf had asked the high court to declare the proceedings against him as “unconstitutional”.
The PML-N government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over his decision to impose an extra constitutional emergency in November 2007.
More than 100 hearings for the case have taken place and four judges have been changed along the way.
Musharraf was indicted in the case in March 2014 after he appeared before the court and rejected all charges.
On March 18, 2016, he left Pakistan for Dubai for medical treatment after his name was removed from the exit control list on the orders of the Supreme Court.
A few months later, the special court declared him a proclaimed offender and ordered the confiscation of his property, owing to his continuous inability to appear in court.
Later, his passport and identity card were also cancelled on orders of the apex court.
Reactions pour in
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal praised the special court’s verdict. He said that for the first time in Pakistan that the concept of supremacy of the constitution is strengthening. In the future, this will help end the tradition of violating the constitution, he said.
If this verdict had been issued 50 years ago, then Pakistan wouldn’t have to face the curse of military dictatorship and East Pakistan would have also not separated from us, he added.
Akhtar Shah, the former lawyer of Pervez Musharraf, was left enraged. “We will not leave anyone,” said Shah. “We will initiate legal proceedings against all those responsible.” He remarked that a referendum should be held in the country.
Military says verdict received ‘with lot of pain and anguish’
The Pakistan Army said on Tuesday that the “due legal process” was not followed in the high treason case against Musharraf.
In a statement, the military’s media wing said the army received the decision of the special court “with lot of pain and anguish”.
“An ex-Army Chief, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee and President of Pakistan, who has served the country for over 40 years, fought wars for the defense of the country can surely never be a traitor,” the ISPR statement said.
It said that Musharraf was denied the “fundamental right of self defence” and the case was concluded in haste.
“Armed Forces of Pakistan expect that justice will be dispensed in line with Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the statement added.