THE death sentence for treason handed to former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf by a special tribunal in December has been overruled by the Lahore High Court, according to his lawyers.
The Lahore court ruled on Monday that the formation of the special tribunal was unconstitutional and illegal, Musharraf’s defence lawyer Azhar Siddique said.
The three-judge tribunal handed down the death sentence to Musharraf in December after a trial that lasted several years.
Musharraf ruled Pakistan between 1999 and 2008.
Two out of the three judges ruled that Musharraf was guilty of abrogating Pakistan’s constitution in 2007 to purge higher judiciary officials to avoid legal challenges to his rule.
Musharraf, 76 and now living in exile in Dubai, overthrew the government of the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in a bloodless military coup in 1999.
The dictator rose to prominence on the world stage after joining the U.S.-led war on terrorism in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda.
Though his coup was regularised by the parliament, the ex-strongman again suspended the constitution in 2007.
Generals have ruled Pakistan for almost half of the country’s existence since its independence from Britain in 1947.
This was the first time Pakistani courts had convicted a powerful military leader.
Musharraf is either already convicted or facing trial in at least four other cases including the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and a prominent tribal chieftain of the south-western Pakistani province of Balochistan.
An appeal of Monday’s ruling is possible but unlikely.
– Jan. 13, 2020 @ 13:25 GMT |