Pakistan court hands death penalty to Pervez Musharraf in treason case
Islamabad, Dec 17: Pakistan's ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf was on Tuesday sentenced to death in the high treason case by a special court here, according to media reports. A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, handed Musharraf, 76, death sentence in the long-drawn high treason case against him for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007, a punishable offence for which he was indicted in 2014.
The former Army chief left for Dubai for medical treatment in March 2016 and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons. The special court - comprising Justice Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court - announced the verdict it had reserved on November 19, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Musharraf became Pakistan's first army chief to be charged with treason when he was indicted on March 31, 2014. He pleaded not guilty to five charges and dismissed them as being politically motivated, The Express Tribune reported.
The hearing in the high-profile case was stalled after Musharraf left for Dubai in 2016. Musharraf left Pakistan for Dubai for medical treatment on March 18, 2016 with a commitment to come back. He managed to go abroad after his name was removed from the no-fly list or Exit Control List on the orders of the Supreme Court.
On November 19, a special Pakistani court ended the trial proceedings in the high treason case against the former Pakistan President General for announcing a state emergency on November 3, 2007. Since December 2013 the trial of Musharraf has been pending, this is when he was booked in the case.
Last month, on the petition filed by the Pakistan government that sought an adjournment of the verdict's announcement as IHC was hearing in this case. Meanwhile, the court has also directed the government to notify new prosecutors by December 5 in the case.
In 2013, Musharraf failed to appear before the court after repeated summons and directives issued for his arrest by the Federal Investigation Agency. And then, was declared as an absconder.
Musharraf seized power in 1999 by toppling the government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif and ruled until 2008 when he was forced to step down. In October this year, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government de-notified the prosecution team which was hired in December 2013 by the PML-N government. Noted lawyer Akram Sheikh was heading the prosecution team. He resigned soon after the PTI's victory in the 2018 general elections and the remaining team members were sacked this year, the Express Tribune reported.