Pakistan Court Abrogates Death Sentence of Ex-President Musharraf

By Victor Westerkamp

The Lahore High Court ruled on Monday that the death sentence handed down by a lower court in December on Pakistan’s former leader Pervez Musharraf is unconstitutional.

The new verdict exonerates Musharraf—at least for the moment—of the death penalty, prosecutors, as well as members of Musharraf’s defense team, confirmed. It does not exempt him from facing similar lawsuits in the future.

Ishtiaq A. Khan, the prosecutor representing the government, told news agency AFP: “The filing of the complaint, the constitution of the court, the selection of the prosecution team are illegal, declared to be illegal … And at the end of the day, the full judgment has been set aside,” Deutsche Welle reported.

Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf 1
Pakistan’s former President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf arrives at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad, Pakistan, on April 20, 2013. (Anjum Naveed/AP Photo)

The lower court Special Tribunal on December 17 sentenced the country’s former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf to death in a treason case related to the state of emergency he imposed in 2007 while in power, commonly referred to as a “Bloodless Coup.”

It was the first time in Pakistan’s history that a former army chief and ruler of the country has been sentenced to death. Musharraf was sentenced in absentia and has been out of the country since 2016 when he was allowed to leave on bail to seek medical treatment abroad.

In an infamous purge in 2007, Musharraf imposed a state of emergency and placed several key judges under house arrest in the capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in Pakistan. He came to power after ousting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a 1999 bloodless coup.

Later, when back in office, Sharif first accused Musharraf of treason in 2013. The retired general was formally charged in 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this article