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It's Military Vs Judiciary in Pakistan

Its Military Vs Judiciary in Pakistan
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Highlights

A special court in Islamabad last Tuesday found former Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf guilty of high treason and handed him death sentence under Article 6 of the Constitution.

A special court in Islamabad last Tuesday found former Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf guilty of high treason and handed him death sentence under Article 6 of the Constitution.

This makes it the first ever such ruling against a former military chief. So far, no such personality has ever been found guilty of high treason and handed a death sentence. It is a different issue whether Pakistan will hang its former ruler whatever may be his crime.

Musharraf is currently hospitalised in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. As Pakistani media has rightly reacted "when a former military ruler is convicted and handed the death sentence in a country which has been under dictatorship for the better part of its existence, it is no less than history being made".

No doubt, it could be termed a landmark judgment by all means. Like everything else, Musharraf's trial is purely political though there may be grounds for his trial. The past had just caught up with him.

The tension between the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf is well known. The military has already come out with a strong reaction in support of Musharraf. It is not that Pakistani politicians had never faced treason charges.

However, Musharraf is the first former head of State who has been convicted under Article 6 of the Constitution. Musharraf was indicted in 2014 for imposing emergency on November 3, 2007.

The military of Pakistan has been consistently opposing it. Of course, the PTI party of Imran Khan was also not interested in pursuing it in a thanksgiving measure to the military which foisted him in the chair by manipulating the election results in every which way.

Imran Khan had pulled out his team of prosecutors while seeking the trial to be stopped. Now with the special court convicting Musharraf, it would be interesting to watch what the Pakistani government would be doing.

Will they appeal against it in the Pakistani apex court? Musharraf has been offered indemnity at the intervention of the US government as a guarantee in return for his exit from the country after laying down the office. But Nawaz Sharif did not keep quiet and as soon as he came to power put him on trial.

The problem for Musharraf was also because of his confrontation with the judiciary. When mass protests broke out in the country against his rule, he not only declared emergency but also went after the judiciary by detaining many superior court justices and the Chief Justice himself.

Hence, this present verdict and indictment and death sentence could also be seen as an assertion by the judiciary. It is the judiciary's line drawn for the military.

This is a new development now. Where would this lead to is not known. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has also, just a day before the verdict, released its full judgment in Gen Quamar Bajwa's extension case by allowing him to stay in office for six months with a condition that it had to be regularised through an Act of Parliament of the country.

Now that is seen as a vague ruling. Hence, this is not about Musharraf, but about Military Vs Judiciary in Pakistan.

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