Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
Video Producer: Ambalika Banerjee
Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf has been handed a death sentence in the high treason case against him. A three-member bench of a special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, on Tuesday, 17 December, delivered the verdict, Dawn reported.
The trial against Musharraf began in 2013 for abrogating the constitution in 2007, which is considered high treason, and is punishable by death under Article 6 of the Pakistani Constitution.
He also faces trial for illegal detention of judges in the same year.
Musharraf’s rise to power as Pakistan’s president was cemented by a bloodless coup in 1999, deposing the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Musharraf’s Flight to Dubai
Facing impeachment following the 2008 elections, he went into a self-imposed exile to Dubai and returned in 2013, but he was unable to stand for elections.
In January 2014, Musharraf suffered a “severe heart attack” on his way to a special court to face the high treason charges, following which he was admitted to an army hospital.
The high-profile cases against him left him unable to travel out of the country till the ban was lifted in March 2016.
In the same month, the former army chief left for Dubai for medical treatment, and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons. The court has asked the government to explain why Musharraf was allowed to go abroad without its consent.
The special court announced the verdict it had reserved on 19 November, according to Dawn.
(With inputs from Dawn.)
(This is a developing story. It will be updated with more details.)
Musharraf Can Never be a Traitor: Pak Army
Pakistan's powerful army said that its former chief Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf can "never be a traitor" and a special court verdict against him in the high treason case has been received with "lot of pain and anguish by rank and file of Pakistan Armed Forces".
"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," Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a brief statement.
"The due legal process seems to have been ignored including constitution of special court, denial of fundamental right of self defence, undertaking individual specific proceedings and concluding the case in haste," he said.
“Armed Forces of Pakistan expect that justice will be dispensed in line with Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” Ghafoor said.
Musharraf's indictment for treason was a highly significant moment in a country where the powerful military has held sway for much of its independent history.
Musharraf, the then army chief, seized power by ousting then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 bloodless coup. He has also served as Pakistan's president from 2001 to 2008.