Former dictator Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death in Pakistan

A Pakistani court sentenced former military dictator Pervez Musharraf to death in absentia on Tuesday on treason charges stemming from his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and later ruled as president until 2008, is out of the country and did not comment on a ruling widely seen as part of a standoff between the judiciary and military over the rule of law.

(March 7, 2019) 

“Pervez Musharraf has been found guilty of Article 6 (of the constitution) for violation of the constitution of Pakistan,” government law officer Salman Nadeem said.

The full ruling by a special anti-terrorism court was not immediately available but the three judges reached a majority verdict, with two of them deciding against Musharraf.

Musharraf, 76, is the first former army chief to be charged with treason in Pakistan and has said the powerful military helped him get out of the country.

In a strongly worded statement, the army said the ruling had caused “pain and anguish” in the ranks and added: “The due legal process seems to have been ignored.”

It said the case had been concluded in haste and that Musharraf “fought wars for the defense of the country (and) can surely never be a traitor.”

Musharraf imposed a state of emergency at a time when he faced growing opposition to his rule. All civil liberties, human rights and democratic processes were suspended from November 2007 to February 2008.

The final years of his rule were marked by struggles with the judiciary over his wish to remain head of the army while president. He quit in 2008, after a political party that backed him fared poorly in a national election.

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