Pervez Musharraf: Former Pakistan President Sentenced to Death for Treason

by Madhvi Bansal

Pakistan’s former President has been sentenced to death on charges of high treason this Tuesday by a special court. This verdict is pronounced in his absence as the former army ruler is now in Dubai. According to the news sources, he had only appeared twice before the court for these charges of treason before he fled to Dubai in 2008.

As per reports, this shocking verdict is first of its kind as they have never given death sentence before for a president or an army chief. For that matter, no leader of Pakistan was given such a verdict. This verdict is considered unique and has already started receiving angry reactions from the top officials of the Pakistan Army. When they commented about the verdict said that the legal procedures have been ignored while pronouncing this verdict.

According to the Pakistan Military, the death penalty from a special court is unlikely to happen for several reasons. General Pervez Musharraf had left the country back in 2016 and is currently receiving medical treatment in Dubai. This charge of treason was there since 2013 and only now the special court has decided to render the verdict. Two of the three judges found him guilty of treason charges and pronounced the verdict this Tuesday.

While reacting to the charges a month before the verdict, Former Pakistan President mentioned and described it as “Baseless”, according to the news reports. He issued this statement while he was receiving the medical treatment in Dubai as a video message to the government and people of Pakistan.

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About the charges of treason

Back in the year 1999 when the military took over and seized power, General Pervez Musharraf became the president and served between 2001 and 2008. But during the end of his tenure, he has decided to impose an emergency in an intention to prolong it. When an emergency was imposed in 2007, the whole of Pakistan resisted it and even protested against the decision. Later when things went out of control, he had to resign to escape impeachment.

According to Gen Musharraf, the charges against him were politically motivated and he did nothing that was opposed to the then government back in 2007. But the courts were not convinced with his arguments and decided to file the charges of treason. When a treason charge is filed, the person cannot leave the country until they lift the ban. But in his case, even with the charges of high treason, he left the country in 2016 when they lifted the ban for a short period.

The issue was that the former president had self-exiled to Dubai and refused to return to face the trail. Now that he had not returned citing his bad health and medical treatment, the court has decided to pronounce the verdict in absentia.

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Significance of the verdict

This verdict is considered significant because it is the first time an army chief has been given the death penalty despite the fact that the whole of Pakistan Armed forces is against it. According to the reports, the armed forces were angry and in defense of Gen Musharraf, they issued a statement that said, “An ex-Army Chief, Chairman 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.

Analysts are also aware of the fact that it may be unlikely that the death penalty will be carried out. Surely former Pakistan president and army general will appeal against the verdict of the death penalty.