Pakistan court awards death sentence to ex-military ruler in high treason case
Islamabad/IBNS: A Pakistani court on Tuesday awarded death sentence to country's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case, media reports said.
A special court headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and comprising Justices Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Shahid Karim of the LHC, announced the verdict it had reserved on November 19.
The verdict assumes to be significant as it is for the first time in the history of the country that a military chief has been declared guilty of high treason and handed the death sentence.
Musharraf is currently in Dubai.
He was admitted to a hospital earlier this month after his health deteriorated, media reports said.
In a video statement from his hospital bed, he called the treason case "absolutely baseless”, reported Dawn News.
“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 victimised,” he had stated.
His team can appeal today's verdict in the Supreme Court. If the top court upholds the special court's verdict, the president possesses the constitutional authority under Article 45 to pardon a death row defendant, reported Dawn News.
The former military dictator was sentenced to death in a high treason case for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in the country in Nov 2007, a punishable offence for which he was indicted in 2014.
Earlier, the date for the verdict was fixed for Nov 28.
However, days before the final verdict was to be announced, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government sought deferment of the announcement of the verdict and in a fresh petition, requested the Islamabad High Court that 'The special court be restrained from passing final judgement in the trial', Pakistan daily 'Dawn' said.
On Nov 27, the IHC stopped the special court from issuing its verdict reserved in the case on Nov 19. Additionally, they directed the government to notify a prosecution team by Dec 5.
On Dec 5, the new prosecution team for the government appeared before the special court after which the special court adjourned proceedings till Dec 17, adding that it would hear arguments and announce the verdict on the same day.