Pakistan court sentences former President Musharaf to death

Pakistan court sentences former military ruler Musharaf to death for treason
2 min read
17 December, 2019
A Pakistan court on Tuesday sentenced former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
Musharraf came to power after a bloodless coup [Getty]

Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf was sentenced to death for treason on Tuesday, state media reported, and a huge move for a country where the military is often considered above the law.

"Special Court Islamabad has awarded death sentence to former President Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case," Radio Pakistan tweeted.

The decision to prosecute Musharraf rests on his decision when military ruler to suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule in 2007, according to his lawyer Akhtar Shah. 

The controversial move ultimately sparked protests against Musharraf, leading to his resignation in the face of impeachment proceedings.

Musharraf fled the country when I was travel ban was lifted in 2016 to seek medical treatment abroad and since that time has split his time between Dubai and London. 

"Musharraf wanted to record his statement and was ready to visit Pakistan but he wanted foolproof security which was not provided," lawyer Shah said. "He is still in Dubai and sick."

Musharraf came to power after a bloodless coup in 1999 against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. 

He became a new US ally in the "war on terror" and escaped at least three Al-Qaeda assassination during his nine years in charge of Pakistan.

Musharraf's hold on the country was only challenged when he attempted to sack the chief justice in March 2007, sparking nationwide protests. The unrest led him to impose a state of emergency.

Public opinion turned against him further when former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated leading to crushing losses for his political allies in the 2008 elections.

Bhutto's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari welcomed the court's decision, tweeting: "Democracy is the best revenge".

Musharraf stepped down in August 2008 the face of impeachment proceedings by the new governing coalition and went into exile.

He returned to Pakistan in 2013 to contest elections but was barred from taking part and left the country again.

Tuesday's ruling is the latest court decision to target Musharraf.

In 2017, a Pakistani court pronounced Musharraf a fugitive in the murder trial of Bhutto - the first woman prime minister of a Muslim country.

The anti-terrorism court has branded Musharraf an absconder and ordered the confiscation of his property.

Musharraf is alleged to have been part of a broad conspiracy to have his political rival killed before elections. He has denied the allegation.

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