Musharraf, convicted for treason, not traitor, says Pak Army; hints at faceoff
Pervez Musharraf’s conviction for treason and the death sentence is a first-of-its-kind verdict in Pakistan where the military retains a strong influence on the government and its leadership.Updated: Dec 17, 2019 21:04 IST
Pakistan Army on Tuesday evening responded angrily to a guilty verdict handed out by a special court to exiled former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on a charge of high treason, insisting that the country’s former top military commander couldn’t be a traitor.
Pervez Musharraf’s conviction for treason and the death sentence is a first-of-its-kind verdict in Pakistan where the military retains a strong influence on the government and its leadership.
In a statement that came after the country’s military leadership went into a huddle to formulate its response, Tuesday evening’s statement by the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations slammed the verdict that it said, had been received a lot of pain and anguish by the rank and file of Pakistan Armed Forces.
It also faulted the way the verdict had been arrived at and sent a sharp message to the judiciary to make amends. “The armed forces of Pakistan expect that justice will be dispensed in line with the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the army, which has ruled Pakistan for half of its 72 year history, said.
The military statement said the due legal process seems to have been ignored including constitution of special court and denial of fundamental right of self defence. It added that the case had been concluded in haste and the ex-army chief and president who served the country for over 40 years and fought wars “can surely never be a traitor”.
Musharraf, who came to power after ousting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 bloodless coup, has been sentenced to death after being found guilty of treason.
The charge relates to Musharraf abrogating the Constitution and imposing extra-constitutional emergency in Pakistan in November 2007. He had then also placed several key judges under house arrest in the capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in Pakistan.
The ruling, and the strongly-worded reaction from the military, is seen as part of a standoff between the judiciary and military over the rule of law.
Just three weeks back, Pakistan’s Supreme Court had cancelled Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s three-year-long extension, saying there were no legal grounds to grant the top army officer another term after his retirement on Nov 29. He was eventually allowed to continue for six months pending a change in the law.
Senator Pervaiz Rashid, an aide to Sharif, called it a landmark ruling that would help constrain the military, news agency Reuters reported. “We have secured our future generations,” he said.