Pakistan overturns death sentence given to former President Pervez Musharraf

Death sentence given to the former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharaff has been overturned by the Lahore High Court, on Monday

On Monday, a Pakistani court overturned the death sentence given to former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. The Lahore High Court (LHC), in its judgement on Monday, pronounced the legal process followed in the case, as 'unconstitutional', hence void.

He is "a free man" claimed a prosecutor, but the LHC judgement can be retried in another court. The 76-year-old Musharraf seized power by engineering a military coup and ruled the country from 2001-2008.

What did the judgement say?

pervez musharraf,
Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2008. Wikimedia commons

On December 17, 2019, a special court pronounced death sentence to the former Pakistani army chief and military dictator, on charges of treason. The case was pending since 2013. He has been accused of suspending Pakistan's constitution in 2007 and declared a nationwide Emergency, in order to extend his tenure. The case was filed against him by the government of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

On Monday, a full bench of Lahore High Court, comprising of Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mohammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir, delivered the unanimous verdict and rendered the death sentence unconstitutional, Pakistan's Dawn news reported.

The court also ruled that the treason case against the former president was not prepared in accordance with the law. It means that the special court's death verdict to hang Musharraf by neck will not be implemented and the case will be heard all over again if it is pursued at all.

The decision came in response to a petition filed by Musharraf challenging the formation of the special court for the high treason case against him.

Musharraf was allowed to go out of Pakistan for medical treatment

He was indicted on March 31, 2014, and the prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September, the same year. But, he was allowed to leave Pakistan in 2016 to "seek medical treatment" and has been living in Dubai, UAE since then. Hence, General Musharraf was awarded death sentence in absentia.