Pakistan ex-leader Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death for treason

Pakistan ex-leader Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death for treason
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A special court in Islamabad has sentenced General Pervez Musharraf, the former military leader of Pakistan, to death for high treason.

The death sentence was handed out by a three-member court in Pakistan to former military leader General Pervez Musharraf over a high treason case. The case has been pending since 2013.

General Musharraf took control of the Pakistani government in 1999 through a military coup and served as the country’s president from 2001 to 2008. The high treason charge refers to Musharraf’s decision to suspend the constitution in 2007 when he imposed emergency rule as part of a strategy to extend his tenure.

The move sparked protests in the country and in order to avoid being impeached, he decided to resign in 2008. Nawaz Sharif, a former rival whom he deposed in a coup in 1999 who was elected as prime minister in 2013, initiated the treason trial against Musharraf and in March 2014, he was charged for high treason.

The 76-year-old Musharraf is currently in Dubai after being permitted to exit the country for medical treatment in 2016. Since leaving Pakistan, he has refused to appear before the court despite multiple orders.

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He became the first military ruler to ever face trial in Pakistan for overruling the constitution. The verdict was a 2-1 majority against Musharraf and was announced on Tuesday.

According to Musharraf, the treason case was politically motivated and argued that his decision in 2007 was permitted by the government and cabinet. However, the courts shot down his arguments and accused him of acting illegally.

Musharraf left the country after relinquishing the presidency in 2008, but returned in 2013 to contest the general elections, when he was banned from participating by the courts and faced several cases, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

A petition filed by the federal government to the Islamabad High Court delayed the verdict by the three-member court, which was scheduled to be announced last month.

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