Tuesday, December 17th, 2019
A Pakistani counterterrorism court in Islamabad found former President Pervez Musharraf guilty of high treason in his home country. He also violated the constitution of Pakistan. It is the death penalty in Pakistan. Musharraf was not present when the verdict was pronounced. He is seriously ill in a hospital in Dubai.
The trial of General Musharraf is extremely important for the country where the military is very powerful. The lawsuit against him has been pending since 2014. However, Musharraf's illness delayed the process.
As a general of the Pakistani army, Musharraf led a bloodless coup against the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 and seized power. In 2001 he became head of government. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the general led the country through the time of the so-called war on terror.
A general who ruled with emergency laws
Musharraf's reign was like an unfortunate tightrope walk. Under pressure from the United States, he took action against extremism in his country, which was part of Pakistan's military strategy in the struggle against hostile India. At the same time, the general saw himself exposed to growing hostility and anti-American sentiment.
In November 2007, Musharraf imposed emergency laws to extend his power as army chief and president. To do this, he overruled the constitution.
It was the beginning of Musharraf's descent. The dismissal of Supreme Judge Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry sparked mass protests across the country. Musharraf's party lost the general election in 2008. To escape impeachment, Musharraf resigned six months later and left the country in exile in London.
Pakistan's army takes judgment with "pain and anger"
The trial against him was mainly driven by the political camp around the politician and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, against whom Musharraf once couped. Sharif then went into exile in Saudi Arabia.
However, he returned in 2007 and came to power again in 2013. In 2018, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for corruption. Nawaz Sharif, too, must never hold a political office again. He is now seriously ill, like Musharraf.
The death sentence against Pervez Musharraf is tough, not surprising given the current legal situation in Pakistan. Musharraf had formally transformed the country into a dictatorship and violated all applicable legal rules and procedures.
It also affects a man who can also be credited with merits. Musharraf gave the free press and freedom of expression more space than ever before and made a serious attempt to rapprochement with the neighbor and archenemy of India, even if it ultimately failed.
The army already spoke after the verdict was pronounced. The verdict was recorded in the officers' corps with "pain and anger". The judgment will probably not be enforced. The reason: Musharrafs will not leave his exile.