Pervez Musharraf given death penalty

A special court declared former military dictator General Musharraf guilty of high treason and handed him the death sentence on Dec 17th — a judgement unprecedented in Pakistan’s legal history.

A detailed verdict — split 2-1 — will be issued in 24 hours.

Musharraf was booked in the treason case in Dec 2013. On March 31st 2014, the court indicted Musharraf, and in March of 2016 Musharraf left Pakistan. On June 19th 2016, the court declared him a fugitive.

The special court was initially to announce the verdict on Nov 28th.

The special court — headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth— was to announce the final verdict it had reserved on Nov 19th, initially on Nov 28th. But merely days before, the PTI government requested the Islamabad High Court to restrain the special court from passing its final judgement. On Nov 27th, the IHC accepted the request and topped the special court from submitting the issuing the reserved Nov 19th verdict.

At the hearing, the government’s prosecutor, Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa, said that they had submitted three petitions today, one of which asked the court to make former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and former Law Minister Zahid Hamid suspects in the case.

Justice Shahid Karim on the bench remarked that “Submitting such a request after three and a half years means the government doesn’t have the right intentions. Today the case was set for final arguments and now new petitions have been submitted.”

The prosecutor had claimed that Shaukat Aziz had told Musharraf for impose emergency, according to a 2014 petition, in response to which, Justice Karim demanded ““If you want to further make anyone a suspect, submit a new case. Does the government want to delay Musharraf’s trial?”

Justice Karim stated that “If three individuals are made suspects, the government should also submit requests to make the former cabinet and corps commanders suspects.”

Justice Akbar said that no formal request had been received from the government to the court for changes to the charge sheet.

Justice Karim asked how the interior secretary can amend the charge sheet without the approval of the cabinet.