A three-member bench of the special court on Tuesday (Dec 17) has announced death sentence to former President Pervez Musharraf in high Treason case with 2-1 split .
The bench comprising Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC resumed the hearing of the high treason case.
The court, in its short order Tuesday, 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 the Constitution of Pakistan. It was a majority verdict, with two of the three judges making the decision against Musharraf.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had filed the treason case against Musharraf over the president’s imposition of extra-constitutional emergency in November 2007 .
He was booked in the treason case in December 2013 and was indicted by a special court in March 2014, but he left for Dubai in 2016 to “seek medical treatment” and has not returned since. 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.
The court was told that Musharraf was unable to attend hearings in Pakistan as he was reportedly seeking medical treatment for a rare disease.
The special court was scheduled to announce the verdict on November 28 on the basis of available record. However, days before the final verdict were to be announced Imran Khan led PTI government approached the Islamabad High Court to halt the announcement of the vewrdict.
Subsequently, on November 27, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) stopped the special court from issuing its judgment reserved in the high treason case on November 19. Additionally, they directed the government to notify a prosecution team by December 5.
On December 5, the new prosecution team for the government appeared before the special court after which the special court adjourned proceedings till December 17. The court added that it would hear arguments and announce the verdict on the same day.
On December 17 today, As the hearing went underway, the government’s prosecutor, Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa, said that they had submitted three petitions today. One of the petitions asks that the court make three individuals — former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, former Supreme Court chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and former law minister Zahid Hamid — suspects in the case.
“We want to make Musharraf’s facilitators and companions suspects as well. It it important that the trial of all suspects is held at the same time,” the prosecutor said. “Submitting such a request after three and a half years means the government doesn’t have the right intentions. Today the case was set for final arguments and now new petitions have been submitted,” remarked Justice Karim.
“The stage of investigations and [presenting] evidence has passed. Has there been a new investigation against the included suspects?” he asked, in response to which the prosecutor said that an investigation can only be carried out after the complaint is registered.
After hearing the arguments, the three member bench announced its verdict and sentenced former president General (retd.) Pervez Musharraf to death.
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