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Pakistan army puts its weight behind ex-ruler Musharraf

Army says court verdict received with pain, anguish

Aamir Latif   | 17.12.2019
Pakistan army puts its weight behind ex-ruler Musharraf

KARACHI, Pakistan

In a sharp reaction to a special court’s verdict that handed down death penalty to the country’s former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case, Pakistani army on Tuesday said justice had been denied to the ex-army chief.

“The decision given by special court about Gen. Pervez Musharraf has been received with a lot of pain and anguish by rank and file of Pakistan armed forces,” said a statement from the army.

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.

Former President Musharraf, 76, is currently undergoing treatment in the United Arab Emirates for several health conditions, including cardiac problem.

The due legal process, the statement said, seemed to have ignored constitution of special court, fundamental right of self defense by undertaking individual specific proceedings and concluding the case in haste.

“An ex-army Chief, the chairman of 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,” it added.

“Armed forces of Pakistan expect that justice will be dispensed in line with Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the statement concluded.

Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan, for his part, dubbed the judgment as “illegal”, and “unconstitutional”.

Talking to local broadcaster GNN, Khan charged that the judgment appeared to be outcome of “personal vengeance”.

The special court, he further asserted, had ignored several constitutional articles, including right of self defense, while delivering the judgment.

In videos posted on his official Twitter account earlier this month, Musharraf blasted the treason charges as "absolutely baseless”.

“I have served my country for 10 years. I have fought for my country. This [treason] is the case in which I have not been heard and I have been victimized,” he said in the video.

His party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, vowed to challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court.

"We have decided to file and appeal against the judgment and we are consulting our legal team and shall announce our future course of action,” Mehrene Malik Adam, the party's general secretary, said in a press release.

Under Pakistani law, Musharraf can appeal the judgment in the apex court within the next 30 days, said Ismat Mehdi, a senior lawyer from Karachi.

Since the special court was set up on Supreme Court orders, the apex court is the only forum where Musharraf can challenge the verdict, she told Anadolu Agency.

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