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Musharrf Death Sentence Overturned, Legal Process Itself Found To Be Unconstitutional

Musharrf Death Sentence Overturned, Legal Process Itself Found To Be Unconstitutional

The Lahore High Court on Monday (January 13, 2019) in a Pakistani case has turned down the death sentence awarded to the former President Pervez Musharraf. Gen Musharraf had challenged the formation of special court itself which had found him guilty of treason last December by declaring the legal process unconstitutional. 

  • Incidents which led to his conviction:
Former General is living in exile and even after multiple orders he has refused to appear before court in Pakistan. He had seized power from a democratic government led by his old rival Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 coup and became president from 2001 to 2008. In November 2007, he suspended the constitution and imposed emergency rule. He resigned in 2008 to avoid the threat of impeachment which was imminent after the nationwide protest in the after math of emergency. The present case of treason was initiated in March 2014 by Nawaz Sharif after he again became Prime Minister in 2013. 

The Constitution of Pakistan prescribes the death penalty for person charged with high treason. 

Earlier order of lower court handing over death penalty was strongly criticised by both the military and the current government. But then also the death penalty was highly unlikely to be carried out. Currently he is receiving medical treatment in Dubai. 

Government prosecutor had argued that the formation of penal to initiate trial against former military ruler was unconstitutional. Following are the words of prosecutor. 

The filing of the complaint, the constitution of the court, the selection of the prosecution team is illegal, declared to be illegal... And at the end of the day the full judgment has been set aside”. 

In an unusual word, lower court judgement said that even if he is dying before he can be executed, "his corpse (should) be dragged to D-Chowk, [outside parliament in] Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for three days". It had created furore in the Pakistan and government had proceeded to disbar the penal’s head judge as it is well-known that the military maintains strong influence and senior officers of the military are often considered immune from prosecution.

The prosecution as next step can now file a new case against Musharraf with the approval of the federal Cabinet.

Author: Parth Thummar

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