Politics, Asia - Pacific

Musharraf terms death sentence ‘suspicious’

Supremacy of law completely disregarded throughout case hearing, says former Pakistani president

Behlul Cetinkaya   | 19.12.2019
Musharraf terms death sentence ‘suspicious’


Former Pakistani military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday the death sentence given to him by a special court is based on some people’s animosity towards him.

“This is an unprecedented case in which neither the defendant nor his lawyer was allowed to defend the case,” Musharraf said in a video statement from his hospital bed in Dubai.

He said the decision is “suspicious” since the supremacy of law was “completely disregarded” throughout the case hearing and stressed that the case was taken up only due to a “personal vendetta” by some people against him.

Saying that some people in high positions misused their authority to target one individual, Musharraf noted they revealed their intentions by this act.

“The chief justice has admitted publicly that he ensured a speedy decision in the case,” he added.

He also thanked the Pakistani nation and its armed forces for standing by him.

Musharraf is currently undergoing treatment in the United Arab Emirates for several health conditions, including cardiac problems.

On Dec. 17, a three-member bench of the special court headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth delivered the verdict in the high treason case.

The court’s decision marks the first time in Pakistan's history that a former leader of the armed forces has been sentenced to death. The court issued a 2-1 split verdict, with two of the three judges making the decision against Musharraf.

Musharraf’s party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, vowed to challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court.

In March 2014, Musharraf was charged with high treason for imposing emergency rule and suspending the Constitution in 2007.

In August 2017, he was declared an "absconder" by Pakistan's anti-terrorism court in the verdict on the 2007 murder of Benazir Bhutto, a two-time prime minister.

In Tuesday’s ruling, the special court said after analyzing complaints, records, arguments and facts in the case for three months, it found Musharraf guilty of high treason according to Article 6 of Pakistan’s Constitution.

Article 6 says “any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance the Constitution by use of force or show force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason."

Musharraf -- a former four-star general -- ran the country as president from 2001 until tendering his resignation in 2008 to avoid impeachment.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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