Islamabad: A Pakistan court Monday annulled the death sentence handed to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, ruling that the special court which had found him guilty of high treason last year was unconstitutional.
A three-member bench at Lahore high court headed by Justice Mazhar Ali Akbar and comprising Justice Mohammad Ame-er Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahan-gir on Monday announced the unanimous verdict on Gen. Musharraf’s plea against the setting up of the special court.
“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,” the government prosecutor, Ishtiaq A. Khan, said.
The decision means Gen. Musharraf is “a free man”, he added.
“Yes, he is a free man. Right now there is no judgment against him any longer,” Mr Khan said.
Gen. Musharraf was sentenced to death in absentia by a special court in December on treason charges stemming from his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007. Gen. Musharraf — in self-imposed exile in Dubai — had denounced the ruling it as a “vendetta” and the military expressed its disappointment.
The original ruling marked the first time a former leader of the armed forces had faced such a sentence for treason in Pakistan.
Gen. Musharraf was facing treason trial under Article 6 of the Constit-ution as well as Section 2 of the High Treason Act for imposing emergency in the country on Nove-mber 3, 2007, that also resulted in the suspension of 61 judges of the superior judiciary, including then Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. On November 29, 2007, he took oath as a civilian President and lifted the emergency.