Pakistan’s ex-military dictator Musharraf handed death sentence

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International desk, December 17: A  Special court of Pakistan hearing the high treason case against former president General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday handed the former ruler a death sentence.

(FILES) In this photograph taken on November 27, 2007 Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf salutes as he listens to the national anthem during the farewell ceremony at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Pakistan’s ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf was indicted August 20, 2013 on three counts over the murder of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007.

A three-member bench of the special court headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad announced the decision, reports The News, Pakistan.

The court, in its short order said that it had analysed complaints, records, arguments and facts in the case for three months. The court added it had found Musharraf guilty of high treason according to Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

It was a majority verdict, with three of the two judges giving the decision against Musharraf.

Earlier, the special court hearing the high treason case against the former president had said it would announce the verdict on December 17 even if arguments of both sides were not completed by then.

It is pertinent to mention here the special court on November 19 had said the verdict in the case would be announced on November 28, before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) barred it from doing so.

High treason case

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over the president’s imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007.

Earlier this year, head of the prosecution, Mohammad Akram Sheikh, tendered his resignation. In his resignation letter sent to the interior secretary, Sheikh expressed his inability to proceed with the case after the imminent change of government at the centre.

Sheikh was appointed as the head of the prosecution in the case in November 2013, by the then-PML-N led government.

The former army chief was indicted in the case in March 2014 after he appeared before the court and rejected all charges.

On March 18, 2016, the former president 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 had declared him a proclaimed offender and ordered the confiscation of his property owing to his continuous inability to appear.

Later, his passport and identity card were also cancelled on orders of the apex court.