Pakistan’s former dictator General Pervez Musharraf who died in Dubai on Sunday due to prolonged illness, earned the ignominy of being the first military ruler to receive capital punishment in the country’s history for subverting the Constitution in 2007.
Musharraf, 79, who was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body, shifted to Dubai in 2016.
In December 2019, a Pakistani court sentenced Musharaff to death in absentia in the high treason case.
The case dates back to November 2007, when Musharraf, as Pakistan’s President, suspended the Constitution and imposed emergency rule to prolong his tenure.
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He subsequently resigned in 2008 to avoid the threat of impeachment.
When Nawaz Sharif, his bete noire, whom he deposed in the 1999 coup – returned to power in 2013, he initiated a treason trial against Musharraf.
In March 2014, the former general was charged for high treason, even though he claimed that the case was politically motivated.
A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, pronounced the verdict in the landmark case.
The court found the ex-president, who relocated to Dubai on self-exile, guilty of high treason by abrogating the Constitution and imposing extra-constitutional emergency in Pakistan in November 2007 and handed him the death sentence.
Musharraf thus earned the ignominy of being the first military ruler convicted for subverting the Constitution.
Though he was not the first General to do so.
Three Pakistan Army chiefs including Gen Ayub Khan, Gen Yahya Khan and Gen Zia-ul-Haq also abrogated the Constitution, but they never faced any court. Musharraf’s sentencing was a highly significant moment in Pakistan where the powerful military has ruled the country for nearly half of its 75-year history.
Musharraf seized power by ousting Sharif in a 1999 bloodless coup.
He served as Pakistan’s president from 2001 to 2008.