KARACHI: General Pervez Musharaf has been handed the death penalty in a high treason case, an unprecedented move against a former military ruler in Pakistan. The sentencing in the long drawn out case was announced on Tuesday afternoon, sparking frenzy across all media platforms.
Here, we breakdown the ‘what, when, where and why’ of the case in case you need to brush up on the matter:
Who is Pervez Musharraf?
Gen Pervez Musharraf is a former army chief who served as president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008. As the military chief, Gen Musharraf overthrew Nawaz Sharif’s government in 1999. He went into exile in 2008.
Musharraf went on to form a political party, the APML, and returned to Pakistan in 2013 to contest the general elections. However, he was barred from standing by the courts and was embroiled in several cases, including the high treason case.
What is the case about?
The case was initiated by Nawaz Sharif after he returned to power in 2013 for suspending the constitution and imposing emergency rule in November 2007. The former military ruler argued that the actions he took in 2007 were agreed by the government and cabinet, according to the BBC. However, the court dismissed his arguments and charged him with treason in 2014.
What happened in 2007?
Gen Musharraf imposed emergency rule in an attempt to thwart a political opposition movement and fire the chief justice and much of the judiciary, according to The New York Times. The move, however, caused an uproar, sparking protests across the country. He resigned in 2008 to avoid the threat of impeachment.
What has he been charged been charged with?
On December 17, 2019 (today) a three-member Special Court sentenced Musharraf to death over a high treason charge, and stated that the former military ruler “has been found guilty of Article 6 for violation of the Constitution of Pakistan”.
What is treason?
According to Article 6 of the constitution, “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”
Why was he given the death penalty?
According to the Pakistani constitution, anyone convicted of high treason could face the death penalty.
Where is he now?
Gen Musharraf, who is currently in Dubai after being allowed to leave the country for medical treatment in 2016, earlier called the high treason charges baseless. “Musharraf wanted to record his statement and was ready to visit Pakistan but he wanted foolproof security which was not provided,” his lawyer Akhtar Shah said, according to TRT.