Pak court annuls Musharraf’s death penalty; declares special tribunal’s ruling ‘unconstitutional’

The Lahore High Court on Monday resumed hearing a set of petitions filed by former dictator Pervez Musharraf challenging multiple actions against him including his conviction in high treason the establishment of the trial court and filing of the complai

The Lahore High Court on Monday resumed hearing a set of petitions filed by former dictator Pervez Musharraf challenging multiple actions against him including his conviction in high treason the establishment of the trial court and filing of the complai

A Pakistani court Monday annulled the death sentence handed to former president Pervez Musharraf, ruling that the special court that found him guilty of treason a year ago was unconstitutional.

In it's ruling on a petition filed by Musharraf, a three-member bench of the LHC also ruled that the treason case that had been filed against the military dictator was not prepared according to legal requirements.

After Monday's ruling, the special court's verdict stands void, Dawn reported, quoting both the government and Musharraf's lawyers as saying. Musharraf, who is undergoing medical treatment in Dubai, was convicted and sentenced for suspending the constitution, when he was the president in 2007.

In December previous year, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death by a special court in an unprecedented trial delayed by the absence of the septuagenarian former military ruler, who has been out of the country since 2016.

The prosecution now has the option to file a new case against Mr Musharraf with the approval of the federal Cabinet.

Chief Justice Athar Manallah stated that there were unique, unusual and unprecedented circumstances in the case.

Musharraf's spokeswoman, Mehrene Malik Adam, told The Associated Press that the Lahore court had delivered "justice" in a case "which was based on false allegations".

The court didn't order any criminal case proceedings over the matter of proclamation of emergency, the AAG added.

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"According to your record, there is no agenda or notification regarding the formation of the special court or the filing of the complaint", the bench noted.

The former president's counsel, Azhar Siddiq, also pointed out that "not only was the complaint illegal, the formation of the special court and the subsequent verdict were also not in accordance to law".

"Then how is it a deviation from the Constitution?" asked Justice Naqvi. On July 22, 2009, Supreme Court had summoned him to defend his action regarding emergence while on July 31, 2009, the apex court had declared Musharraf's decision to impose an emergency and PCO as illegal and unconstitutional.

According to the AAG, the 18 Amendment had included the suspension of the Constitution in Article 6 of the Constitution, thereby making such a declaration illegal from that point on. He also maintained that the charges filed against the former president were flimsy since, under the emergency powers of the executive, fundamental rights could be suspended. "An offense committed in the past can not be punished after new legislation", the AAG said.

The conviction and death sentence handed down to Musharraf in December was heavily criticized by Pakistan's powerful military and the ex-ruler's All Pakistan Muslim League opposition party.

A Pakistani court ousted ex-premier Sharif in 2017 on corruption charges.

He said that Nawaz Sharif, who was Prime Minister at that time, lodged fake case against Pervez Musharraf due to personal grudges.

"We are of the considered view that the accused in this High Treason case has been afforded more than his due share of fair trial".

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