Pak court orders death penalty for Pervez Musharraf

A special court in Pakistan, on Tuesday, handed death penalty to former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case.

The Lahore High Court on Monday issued a notice to the federal government on former Pakistan's military ruler Pervez Musharraf's plea urging it to stay the treason case tried before a special court in Islamabad, according to a media report on Monday.

Musharraf, who has been living in Dubai since March 2016, in his application, has asked the high court to declare the proceedings pending before the special court and all actions against him — from initiation of the high treason complaint to the appointment of the prosecutor and constitution of the trial court — as unconstitutional, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The three-member special court is expected to announce its verdict in the long-drawn high treason case on December 17, despite an earlier Islamabad High Court (IHC) order stopping the special court from issuing the verdict it had reserved in the case last month.

The IHC's order had come on November 27 — a day before the special court was set to announce its verdict.

Musharraf, who has been living in Dubai since March 2016, is facing treason charges for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007, a punishable offence for which he was indicted in 2014.

The 76-year-old former Pakistan Army chief left for Dubai for medical treatment and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons.

On Saturday, in an application filed through his advocates, Musharraf asked the LHC to stay the trial at the special court until his earlier petition pending adjudication by the high court is decided.

In that petition, the former dictator challenged the formation of a special court holding his trial under charges of high treason and legal flaws committed in the procedure.

The application urged the high court to immediately suspend all actions, including the filing of the complaint, submission of a challan, the appointment of a prosecution team and constitution of the trial court.

During the proceedings, Justice Syed Mazahar Akbar Ali Naqvi asked why the second application was submitted if another petition by Musharraf was already being heard in the LHC. To this, Musharraf's counsel said this was a miscellaneous application.

"Would it be reasonable to form a full bench to hear Musharraf's petitions?" asked Justice Naqvi, in response to which Musharraf's lawyer and the government lawyer said the court had nearly heard the entire matter and there was no need to form a full bench.

Issuing a notice to the federal government on Musharraf's application for December 17, the court decided to hear it alongside the main petition set for hearing in the LHC on Tuesday, the daily said.

The high treason trial of the former military dictator for clamping the state of emergency on November 3, 2007, has been pending since December 2013.

He was booked in the treason case in December 2013. Musharraf was indicted on March 31, 2014, and the prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September the same year. However, due to litigation at appellate forums, the trial of the former military dictator lingered on and he left Pakistan in March 2016.

In October, the special court was informed that the government had sacked the entire prosecution team engaged by the previous PML-N government to prosecute the high treason case against Musharraf. 

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