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Pervez Musharraf given death penalty in high treason case

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Islamabad, Dec 17, 2019-

In a first in Pakistan’s history, a three-member bench of a special court here on Tuesday sentenced former President Pervez Musharraf to death in the long-drawn high treason case against him.

This is the first time in the country’s history that a military chief has been declared guilty of high treason and handed a death sentence, Dawn news reported.

A three-member bench of the special court – headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and comprising Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court – announced the split 2-1 verdict in the case after hearing final arguments earlier on Tuesday.

A detailed verdict will be issued in 48 hours.

The 76-year-old former military chief is currently in Dubai after being allowed to leave the country for medical treatment in 2016. He hasn’t returned to Pakistan ever since.

Musharraf’s high treason trial for imposing the state of emergency on November 3, 2007, had been pending since December 2013.

He was booked in the treason case in December 2013, when the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government was in power.

Musharraf was indicted on March 31, 2014, and the prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September the same year.

However, due to litigation at appellate forums, the trial of the former military dictator lingered on and he left Pakistan in March 2016.

The special court was reformed six times during the course of the case.

Earlier in the hearing, on behalf of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, the prosecution team, led by Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa, urged upon the court to amend the indictment against the former military ruler, The Express Tribune reported.

Bajwa said the government also wanted to frame charges against former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and former Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

“It is imperative for all accused to be tried simultaneously. The aiders and abettors should be tried as well.”

But the bench remarked that the Supreme Court had already decided on the matter and gave the government two weeks to submit a new chargesheet.

During the hearing, Musharraf’s counsel Raza Bashir also sought 15 to 20 days for his client to record a statement. “Musharraf deserves a right to fair trial,” he said.

Justice Akbar noted that the former President had been provided six opportunities to record a statement but he failed to appear, while Justice Waqar added that the special court had allowed Musharraf to appear before the bench at his convenience as well.    (Agency)

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