- Pakistan Army General Pervez Musharraf staged a coup in 1999 and took over power
- Musharraf became the 10th president of Pakistan in 2001
- In 2007, Musharraf imposed State of Emergency across Pakistan and suspended the Constitution
- He tendered resignation in 2008 to avoid impeachment, and moved to London in a self-imposed exile
- In 2013, after a four-year exile, he returned to Pakistan
- Musharraf was indicted for high treason in 2014
- On December 17, 2019, a Special Court hands Musharraf death sentence in the long-drawn high treason case
A Special Court of Pakistan sentenced former Army chief and ex-president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf to death for high treason by imposing state of emergency in 2007.
This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that a former army chief has been handed over a death sentence.
The Special Court order is subject to appeal.
A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, on Tuesday, handed former military ruler Pervez Musharraf death sentence. A detailed verdict will be issued in 48 hours.
An 11-page complaint (No 1 of 2013) was submitted by Interior Secretary Shahid Khan to Abdul Ghani Soomro, registrar of the special court constituted under the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court) Act 1976 for trial of the former military ruler under Article 6 of the Constitution with Section 3 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 and Section 5 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Court Act) 1976.
The government also submitted a list of prosecution witnesses. They are: M. Siraj, deputy secretary of the cabinet division; Mohammad Khalid Qureshi, additional director general of the Federal Investigation Agency; Maqsoodul Hassan, director FIA; Hussain Asghar, director FIA; Taj Umar Khan, deputy solicitor in the law and justice ministry; Talib Hussain of PTV News; Kaleeem Shehzad, section officer of the cabinet division; and Khalid Rasool, FIA inspector.
The government had on November 19 constituted the three-judge special court comprising Justice Faisal Arab of the Sindh High Court, Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court and Justice Yawar Ali of the Lahore High Court, Dawn reports.
The documents filed in the court include copies of notifications which made judges of the Supreme Court and high courts dysfunctional in pursuance of proclamation of emergency on November 3, 2007, orders for appointment of judges on November 3 and 12, 2007, Oath of Office (Judges) Order 2007, Proclamation (of emergency) Order, Provisional Constitution Order of Nov 3 and repealing of the same on December 15, 2007, and proclamation of emergency signed by Gen Musharraf as Chief of Army Staff and its endorsement by then cabinet secretary Syed Masood Alam Rizvi.
The interior ministry collected the documents from the law and justice ministry, human rights and cabinet divisions, Printing Corporation of Pakistan and PTV.
Musharraf (76) was booked in the treason case in December 2013. He 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 Musharraf 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.
Last week, the special court ordered Musharraf to record statement by December 5 in the treason case after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) stopped the special court from issuing the verdict on November 28.
Later, Musharraf recorded a video message from his hospital bed in which he said he was ready to record his statement in the case.
"A judicial commission can come here and hear me out. It must see my health condition and make a decision. The commission, with my lawyer, must then be heard in the court," Musharraf added.
Musharraf has been living in Dubai and London since 2014 after he was allowed to travel on medical grounds. He never went back despite court orders and was also earlier put on the list of wanted people.
Five treason charges against Musharraf
In the first move of its kind in Pakistan's history, the federal government brought five charges of high treason against former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf for his trial in a special court, Dawn reports.
The first suggesting that Gen Musharraf as Chief of the Army Staff issued a proclamation of emergency order on Nov 3, 2007, which unconstitutionally and unlawfully held the constitution in abeyance. Thus he subverted the constitution and committed the offence of high treason punishable under section 2 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973, which is within the jurisdiction of the special court established under Section 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment (Special Courts) Act 1976.
Secondly, he issued the Provisional Constitution Order No 1 of 2007, which unconstitutionally and unlawfully empowered the president to amend the constitution from time to time. He also suspended the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 25 of the Constitution, subverted the constitution and thus committed the offence of high treason.
Thirdly, Gen Musharraf as president of the country issued the Oath of Office (Judges) Order 2007 whereby an oath was unconstitutionally and unlawfully introduced in the Schedule which required a judge to abide by the provisions of the proclamation of emergency to perform acts and functions in accordance thereof. The order resulted in removal of a number of judges of the superior courts, including then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Thus Gen Musharraf committed the offence of high treason.
Fourthly, he issued the Constitution (Amendment) Order 2007 whereby Articles 175, 186-A, 198, 218, 270B and 270C were unconstitutionally and unlawfully amended and Article 270AAA was added to the constitution, which was later removed through the 18th Amendment. Thus he subverted the constitution and committed the offence of high treason.
And fifthly, Gen Musharraf issued the Constitution (Second Amendment) Order 2007 whereby the constitution was unconstitutionally and unlawfully amended and, thereby, he subverted the constitution and committed the offence of high treason.
"These criminal acts of subversion of the constitution constituting high treason were personal acts of Musharraf for the purposes of his personal aggrandisement and a consequential vendetta," the complaint said.