Sunday, 23 February, 2020

LHC Declares Special Court for Musharraf Trial 'Unconstitutional'

Lahore High Court Pakistan Court Annuls Death Penalty for Former President Musharraf- Reports CC BY 3.0 Raki_Man Lahore High Court
Deanna Wagner | 14 January, 2020, 03:44

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.

A court in Pakistan has ruled that the formation of a special court that handed former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf a death sentence was unconstitutional, casting into doubt the legitimacy of last month's verdict.

A special court on December 17 had convicted Musharraf for high treason and handed him the death penalty on five counts in a 2-1 split decision.

Justice Naqvi had asked the federal government on Friday to submit a summary on the formation of the special court and had directed the government's lawyer to present arguments on Monday. "And at the end of the day the full judgment has been set aside", Ishtiaq A. Khan, the prosecutor representing the government, told news agency AFP.

In an earlier hearing the bench asked the petitioner's counsel, "The special court has already announced the verdict, tell the court how a decision of the high court will affect that judgment".

The treason case against him was first launched by his old foe Sharif in 2013.

However, the court had only admitted the petitions challenging the formation of the special court and the complaint registered against the former president.

"It is the truth that the formation of the special court to hear the case against Musharraf was done without cabinet approval", he said.

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former president and head of the All Pakistan Muslim League political party, salutes as he arrives to unveil his election manifesto at his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 15, 2013.

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The charges against Musharraf - who was sentenced in absentia on Tuesday - stem from his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007, after which dozens of judges were placed under house arrest or sacked, sparking widespread street protests by lawyers.

The petition said that the constitution of a special court for hearing the case against Pervez Musharraf was unconstitutional.

A cigar-smoking, whisky-drinking moderate, the general became a key United States ally in the "war on terror" after the Sept 11 attacks and escaped at least three Al-Qaeda assassination attempts during his nine years in office.

At the time, Musharraf - who is in self-imposed exile in Dubai - denounced the ruling it as a "vendetta" and the military expressed its disappointment.

Musharraf, 76, who seized power in a 1999 coup and ruled as president until 2008, is now receiving medical treatment in Dubai.

On November 29, 2007, retired general Pervez Musharraf took oath as a civilian president and lifted the emergency, revoked the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) and restored a Constitution amended on November 15, 2007.

On March 30, 2014, the special court had indicted former president but on March 18, 2016, he left for Dubai to "seek medical treatment".

In 2017, a Pakistani court pronounced Musharraf a fugitive in the murder trial of Bhutto.