In a big relief for Pakistan's self-exiled former military dictator Pervez Musharraf, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday (January 13) quashed Musharraf's death sentence, saying the special tribunal which found him guilty of high treason was "unconstitutional".
The LHC bench also ruled that the treason case against Musharraf was not prepared in accordance with the law, reported Dawn. The verdict was delivered unanimously by a three-member full bench of the LHC, comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mohammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir.
It may be recalled that Musharraf was awarded death sentence on December 17, 2019 by a special court in Islamabad. The trial in this case filed by the PML-N government against Musharraf for suspending the Constitution on November 3, 2007 had started six years ago.
According to both the federal government and Musharraf's lawyer, the verdict issued by the special court holds no meaning any more after the LHC's ruling. In his petition, Musharraf had urged the LHC to declare the special court’s verdict for being illegal, without jurisdiction and unconstitutional for violating Articles 10-A, 4, 5, 10 and 10-A of the Pakistan Constitution. The former military dictator had also sought suspension of the verdict delivered by the special court till the LHC passes a ruling on his plea.
Earlier, Additional Attorney-General Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan had told the LHC the formation of the special court to try Musharraf was not part of the agenda of federal cabinet meetings of the government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. "The special court was constituted without the formal approval of the cabinet," Khan said in court.
Musharraf is currently in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and is not in good health. He was recently admitted to a hospital following the deterioration of his health.