Supreme Court upholds death sentence of Ex-President Musharraf in high treason case

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The Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday. The sentence, related to a ‘high treason case’, was initially imposed by a special court in 2019.

The hearing was conducted by a four-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and included Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minallah.

Musharraf was sentenced to death under Article 6 of the Constitution on December 17, 2019, following a case of high treason filed against him. The case was initiated during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for his ‘unconstitutional’ decision to declare an emergency in November 2007.

The judgement rendered by the special court established to hear the high treason case under Article 6 was deemed “unconstitutional” by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on January 13, 2020.

The late dictator was found guilty of high treason under Article 6 by the special court ruling and was sentenced to die. Subsequently, Taufeeq Asif and the Pakistan Bar Association, among other prominent solicitors, contested the ruling. 

Today, the court determined that the former ruler’s appeal against the death sentence he received was ineffectual due to non-compliance, and it deferred its decision.

Rejecting the former president’s appeal, the SC stated, “Pervez Musharraf’s heirs did not follow the case even on multiple notices.”

Salman Safdar, the attorney for Musharraf, stated that he attempted to get in touch with Musharraf’s family once the court agreed to hear the appeal, but the family never got back to him.

He died on February 5, 2023, Musharraf.

In addition, the court stated that the LHC’s ruling was illegal and deemed the judgement to be “null and void”.

Asif’s attorney, Hamid Khan, informed the court during today’s session that Musharraf has filed a criminal appeal against the sentence.

Aamir Rehman, the Additional Attorney General, stated that he disagreed with Musharraf’s appeal.

Following the hearing of the arguments, the court reserved its decision.

During the previous hearing on November 29, 2023, the Supreme Court noted that everyone who approved of Musharraf’s October 12, 1999 martial law, including the judges, ought to answer for their actions.

Justice Athar had also said that the judges who had approved Musharraf’s 1999 declaration of martial law need to be held accountable as well.

“We should learn from our history,” the chief justice had said, adding that “at least one should admit that what was done in the past was wrong, even if someone was not punished for abrogating the Constitution.”

The top justice went on to say that acknowledging wrongdoing was crucial and that everyone need to acknowledge that wrongs have been committed in the past.

Speaking the truth, Justice Athar had said that the judges who had approved martial law need to be held accountable and given a fair trial as well.