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Musharraf death sentence: Pakistan politicians hail verdict, government calls for detailed review

Opposition party leaders in Pakistan hailed a special court's decision on Tuesday to sentence former dictator general (retired) Pervez Musharraf to death in absentia in the high treason case, even as the government said it will "review in detail" the special court's ruling.

PTI PTI
Islamabad Updated on: December 17, 2019 21:12 IST
Musharraf death sentence
Image Source : PTI (FILE)

Former Pakistan PM Pervez Musharraf

Opposition party leaders in Pakistan hailed a special court's decision on Tuesday to sentence former dictator general (retired) Pervez Musharraf to death in absentia in the high treason case, even as the government said it will "review in detail" the special court's ruling.

Musharraf was on Tuesday sentenced to death in absentia in the high treason case for subverting the Constitution, becoming the first military ruler to receive the capital punishment in the country's history.

A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, found the ailing 76-year-old former Army chief, now living in Dubai on self-exile, guilty of high treason and handed him the death sentence.

Shortly after the verdict, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardardi tweeted, with a photograph of his late mother Benazir Bhutto, "Democracy is the best revenge."

In the picture, Benazir Bhutto is seen addressing a rally in Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi in 2007, the place where she was assassinated.

The Bhutto family has accused Musharraf of not providing adequate security to the former prime minister that resulted in her assassination in 2007.

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said with this verdict the Constitution's superiority took root in Pakistan for the first time, The Dawn newspaper reported.

He said martial law would never have been imposed in the country, if the verdict had been given 50 years ago.

"With this hopefully in the future, the tradition of breaking the Constitution will end," Iqbal was quoted as saying by the daily.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government will review the death sentence handed out to Musharraf.

Awan said judiciary experts will look into all legal and political angles following which the government will present a statement.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry called for unity among the people.

"What is the benefit of such verdicts which increase distances and divides and by which the country and institutions are divided?" the minister tweeted.

"I am constantly saying that there is a need for dialogue. Go towards a new deal. Showing someone as below you, is not in anyone's interest. Have mercy on the country," Chaudhry added.

Meanwhile, the country's former attorney general Irfan Qadir said Musharraf's sentence would will have repercussions across spheres, Geo News said in a report.

"This is a wrong decision and will divide the country. There is a conflict of interest that will be raised after this verdict," Qadir told the daily.

"The judges dismissed by Musharraf, and afterwards restored by an order of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, are both unconstitutional acts. The act of removing judges was unconstitutional, just like the restoration was, which did not follow the proper procedure," he said.

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