Saturday, January 18, 2020

Musharraf's death sentence in Pakistan overturned

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Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on April 15, 2013 in Islamabad. B.K. Bangash / AP

General Pervez Musharraf saved his head. Sentenced to death in absentia on December 17, 2019, for high treason by a special court, the Pakistani ex-president, in exile in Dubai for almost four years, obtained, Monday, January 13, the cancellation of his sentence by the Lahore High Court. He was prosecuted for having suspended the Constitution of Pakistan in November 2007 and instituted a state of emergency for six weeks, then arrested the judges of the Supreme Court, after which his main opponent at the time, Benazir Bhutto, had been murdered. The following year, he had to resign.

The Lahore magistrates, seized on appeal, considered that the special tribunal set up to rule on his fate was unconstitutional. "The filing of the complaint, the constitution of the court and the selection of the prosecution team were found to be illegal", said the prosecutor, stressing that the former autocrat was freed from conviction and again free to move. In a recorded audio message, the person greeted the judges' decision and thanked "All who pray for (her) health ».

Read also Pakistani ex-president Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death in absentia

It was on the initiative of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had just returned to power for the third time, that proceedings were opened in 2013 against General Musharraf, now 76 years old. Mr. Sharif's party, the Pakistan-Nawaz Muslim League, as well as the Pakistan People's Party, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of Benazir Bhutto, expressed their "Surprise" and their "Reservations" after quashing the conviction of their former opponent.

These two formations, removed from power in July 2018 by the unprecedented victory of the Pakistan Movement for justice of the ex-cricket champion Imran Khan, recall that the special tribunal which sentenced Mr. Musharraf to death had been established by the Court supreme itself. According to them, it is with this authority, and not with the High Court of Lahore, that the appeal should have been brought. The two parties which have alternated in command of Pakistan for several decades are surprised in passing that the judgment on appeal was rendered so quickly, while the assassins of Benazir Bhutto have still not been worried.

New improbable action

According to a Pakistani security source contacted by The world and requesting anonymity, the arrival of a new President of the Supreme Court on December 21, "It has a lot to do with it". Upon taking office, High Judge Gulzar Ahmed would have "Implied to the military hierarchy", who was openly moved by General Musharraf's death sentence, that this dossier "Was going to work out quickly". Before leaving office, the previous president of the Supreme Court, Asif Saeed Khosa, had complained of being pressured and subjected to "Slanderous campaign" since the sentence of December 17.

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