LHC quashes Musharraf case verdict, says special court formation 'unconstitutional'

LHC quashes Musharraf case verdict, says special court formation 'unconstitutional'”

The Lahore High Court on Monday declared the formation of a special court - which heard the treason case against former dictator Pervez Musharraf and handed him a death sentence after finding him guilty of treason - as "unconstitutional".

"Gen Musharraf is a free man now", he added.

Musharraf had challenged not only the conviction, but also the formation of the special court that handed him the death penalty for high treason, as well as the complaint filed against him by the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif that resulted in the trial.

"The Lahore High Court has declared unconstitutional all actions right from initiation of complaint and its conclusion against General (retd.) Musharraf by the special court", Additional Attorney General of Pakistan Ishtiaq A Khan told PTI.

Musharraf was sentenced to death by a special court in Islamabad on December 17, 2019, six years after the trial started.

The verdict of the special court also angered the powerful army, which said the ruling was against all human, religious and civilizational values. The case was filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in 2013.

In his arguments over the Article 6 and the federal cabinet's decision, the AAG said that the Article VI was amended after the 18th Amendment in the constitution under which the November 03, 2007 proclamation of emergency was declared a heinous crime. He was referring to the amendments made in Article 6, where the parliament had deemed the abrogation, subverting or suspension of the Constitution as an offence of high treason.

He is now in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates after being allowed to leave Pakistan for medical treatment in 2016.

"The special court which convicted Musharraf was formed without the approval of the cabinet", said the AAG earlier today as the court resumed hearing of the petitions.

"The Lahore High Court has nullified the decision about Pervez Musharraf", Azhar Siddique, Musharraf's lawyer, told Reuters.

On April 8, 2013, SC had summoned ex-military ruler in the treason case and directed the interior ministry to include his name in the Exit Control List (ECL).

Zafar had maintained that whenever Article 6 mandated that a case be filed against a high-ranking official, the federal cabinet was endowed with the authority to have the final say on the issue.

The charges against Musharraf - who was sentenced in absentia on Tuesday - stem from his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007, after which dozens of judges were placed under house arrest or sacked, sparking widespread street protests by lawyers.

The travel ban against him was finally lifted in 2016, and he travelled to Dubai for medical treatment, where he has been ever since.

He seized power during a coup in 1999 and later ruled as president until 2008.

He became a key ally for the USA in its "war on terror" after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001 and escaped several assassination attempts. Musharraf resigned in 2008 to avoid impeachment. They also suggest Musharraf may have facilitated the assassination of his political opponent, Benazir Bhutto, in 2007 - an allegation the former president firmly denies.

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