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Former Military Dictator General Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death

Pakistan News

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In a first, Special court sentences former military dictator General Retired Pervez Musharraf to death in high treason case.

In an unprecedented judgement in the nation’s history, the special court sentenced former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf to death in the years-long high treason case against him.

Musharraf was charged with abrogating the Constitution twice, and a special court was constituted by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif to try Musharraf for high treason.

Two out of the three judges were in favour of capital punishment.

A three-member special court comprising Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Waqar Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court (LHC) will issue a detailed judgment in the next two days.

Earlier in the hearing, on behalf of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, the prosecution team, led by Advocate Ali Zia Bajwa, prayed upon the court to amend the indictment against the former military ruler.

Bajwa said the government wants to frame charges against former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, Abdul Hamid Dogar, and Zahid Hamid. “It is imperative for all accused to be tried simultaneously. The aiders and abettors should be tried as well.”

The bench remarked that the Supreme Court had already decided on the matter and gave the government two weeks to submit a new charge sheet.

Justice Karim also wondered whether the government was using delaying tactics in the treason case against Musharraf. He said the government should file a new complaint if it wanted to add additional names in the high treason trial.

When Justice Waqar told the prosecutor to present his arguments in the case, Bajwa requested for further time to file a formal request. “If you cannot present arguments then leave the rostrum,” said an irked Justice Waqar.

The bench again observed that the special court was only bound to follow the apex court’s judgments and not the judgements originating from high courts.

During the hearing, Musharraf’s counsel Raza Bashir also sought 15 to 20 days for his client to record a statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc). “Musharraf deserves a right to fair trial,” he said.

Justice Akbar noted that the former army chief had been provided six opportunities to record a statement but he failed to appear. Justice Waqar added that the special court had allowed Musharraf to appear before the bench at his convenience as well.

Pakistan 27/7 Staff keeps you updated with the breaking news and the latest stories from around Pakistan, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

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Law and Order

Supreme Court of Pakistan suspends extension of COAS

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General Qamar Javed Bajwa
Photo: AFP

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the extension of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in what many analysts consider as ‘unprecedented’. Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the three-year extension of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

According to Express Tribune, the development came after the chief justice took up a withdrawal application of a petition challenging the army chief’s tenure extension. Justice Khosa rejected the application and took up the petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution under public interest.

The 3-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa suspended the extension of COAS until Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the notification for the reappointment of General Qamar Javed Bajwa as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) for another 3-year tenure was issued on August 19, 2019. General Qamar was set to retire on November 29 on completion of his three-year term. However, after the extension, he would serve as army chief until November 2022.

Defending the move, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan said the Army chief’s tenure had not been extended without securing President Arif Alvi’s approval. “The summary has been approved by the federal cabinet,” he added.

However, the court questioned why a majority of the cabinet had not approved the extension, as only 11 of 25 members voted in favor of it.

The court also questioned the reasoning behind the extension. “Dealing with regional security situation is the job of the Army as an institution, not just of an officer’s,” said the top judge during the proceedings. “If the regional security situation reasoning is accepted, then every Army officer would want a re-appointment.”

The court has issued notices to the defense ministry, the federal government and Gen. Bajwa for the next hearing, which will take place on Wednesday.

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