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Musharraf Verdict, Special Core Commanders’ Conference Underway for Discussions

A Special Core Commanders’ Conference is underway to discuss the Musharraf verdict in the high treason case. The meeting will also include a discussion of the overall security situation in the country.

Earlier today, a special court handed down the death sentence to former President of Pakistan General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case. A Special Core Commanders’ Conference was called at GHQ, under the chair of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to discuss the verdict. The discussions will include the overall security situation of Pakistan and the measures that can be taken to counter any circumstances that arise as a result of this verdict.

The verdict is the first of its kind in the history of Pakistan where a former army chief has been awarded the death penalty. It was announced by a three-member bench of the special court, headed by Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) and comprising of Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court (LHC). The verdict was split 2-and the special court found Musharraf guilty of high treason according to Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan, for imposing a state of emergency on 3rd November 2007, after analyzing complaints, records, arguments and facts in the case for three months.

According to Article 6, “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or hold in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance the Constitution by use of force or show force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason”. The punishment for high treason, according to the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973, is death or life imprisonment.

The treason case was filed against Musharraf by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) government in 2013, over his imposition of an extra-constitutional emergency in November of 2007. He was indicted in the case on 31st March 2014 after he appeared before the court and rejected all the charges. Musharraf left for Dubai for medical treatment on 18th March 2016, after his name was removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) on the Supreme Court’s orders.

A few months after that, the special court declared Musharraf a proclaimed offender and ordered that his property be confiscated owing to his continuous inability to appear before the court. His passport and identity card were also canceled later, on the orders of the apex court.

Mohammad Akram Sheikh, the head of prosecution appointed by the PML-N, tendered his resignation last year through a letter to the interior secretary, in which he expressed his inability to proceed with the case due to the change of government at the centre.

Musharraf, who is currently in Dubai and said to be in a critical condition, expressed his disappointment over the verdict according to sources. Leaders of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) have criticized the judgment of the special court. An APML leader said “Musharraf’s health is in a critical condition” and added that the former President will respond after he has consulted with his lawyers. His counsel can appeal against this verdict in the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court upholds the verdict, the current President of Pakistan possesses the constitutional authority to pardon a death row defendant under Article 45.

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto, on the other hand, tweeted and said “Democracy is the best revenge” followed by “Jiye Butto”. He accompanied this with an artwork of his mother, Benazir Bhutto, while she addresses a rally in Liaqat Bagh in 2007, the same place she was assassinated. This might be because Bilawal has always blamed Musharraf for “killing” his Benazir Bhutto.

He addressed a rally on 28th December 2017, and claimed that Musharraf is a coward and killer saying “Besides Shaheed Benazir, Musharraf also had Nawab Akbar Bugti killed”.

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said that the superiority of the Constitution was taking root in Pakistan for the first time and “with this hopefully in the future, the tradition of breaking the Constitution will end”. He added that martial law would never have been imposed in the country and East Pakistan would have never separated had this verdict been given 50 years ago.

Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Science and Technology, said that its necessary to bring the country together, given the need of the time.

Firdous Ashiq Awan, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting, said that the government will “review in detail” the decision handed down by the special court. She said, “We will review in detail, today’s verdict as well as yesterday’s”, adding that the legal and political aspects, along with the impact on national interests, will be analyzed by legal experts. Once that is complete, the government will present a statement to the media.

In regards to bringing Musharraf back to Pakistan, Awan stated that the government will assess the matter with its legal team, adding that she had just found out about the verdict. She said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will be returning from a trip on Wednesday, after which he will look at the “relevant ground realities and legal framework” and a final decision will be taken.

A detailed verdict is to be issued in 48 hours. What do you think about the verdict? Do you agree with the punishment of the death penalty? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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