Published: Tue, January 14, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Death sentence quashed for Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf

Death sentence quashed for Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf

The LHC had earlier reserved its verdict in the petition filed by the former military ruler challenging the formation of a special court in a high treason case that had handed him the death penalty in December a year ago.

According to BBC Urdu, the long-running case - which relates to Gen Musharraf's suspension of the constitution in 2007, when he declared an emergency in a move meant to extend his tenure - could still be retried in another court.

A three-member full bench of the Lahore High Court comprising Justices Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Mohammad Ameer Bhatti and Chaudhry Masood Jahangir unanimously declared the formation of the special court against Musharraf as "unconstitutional".

The LHC on Monday reserved its verdict on a set of petitions filed by Musharraf challenging multiple actions against him, including his conviction for high treason, the establishment of the trial court that convicted him and filing of the original high treason inquiry against him by the government, the Dawn newspaper reported.

"Yes, he is a free man. Right now there is no judgment against him any longer", Mr Khan added.

Musharraf's health last month deteriorated and he was allowed to leave detention for treatment in a hospital.

Former Pakistani former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf.

The treason trial - which began in 2013 and is just one of several involving Musharraf - centred on his decision to suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule in 2007.

He returned to Pakistan in 2013 in an attempt to contest elections, but was barred from taking part in the polls and from leaving the country as a barrage of legal cases mounted.

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On May 11, 2016, special court had declared Musharraf an absconder as he did not return after getting bail in the treason case.

Musharraf's lawyer also said the sentence had been revoked. He was referring to the amendments made in Article 6, where the parliament had deemed the abrogation, subverting or suspension of the Constitution as an offence of high treason.

"An approval not sought from the federal cabinet for initiating the case against Pervez Musharraf", according to the petition.

The former army chief seized power in a 1999 coup, dismissing the government of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He became a key ally for the USA in its "war on terror" after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001 and escaped several assassination attempts.

In August 2008, he finally resigned in the face of impeachment proceedings by the new governing coalition, going into exile until his ill-starred homecoming in 2013, exiling himself once more three years later.

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.

Musharraf has been in self-imposed exile ever since a travel ban was lifted in 2016 that allowed him to seek medical treatment overseas.

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

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