Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence of Former Military Ruler Pervez Musharraf Declared Guilty of Treason

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, declared guilty of high treason in December 2019. The order comes after a four-judge SC bench took up a set of appeals pertaining to the 2020 Lahore High Court (LHC) order declaring unconstitutional the death sentence awarded to Musharraf.

In November, the top court had fixed for hearing a set of appeals, including one filed by the late military dictator. The counsels challenged the LHC’s decision for having “no legal or territorial jurisdiction, corum non judice (not before a judge), the high court’s exercise of SC’s powers, and the maintainability of Gen Musharraf’s petition filed before the LHC”.

During the proceedings, the court dismissed the set of appeals, noting that “despite attempting to do so, Musharraf’s legal heirs could not be contacted”.

On January 13, 2020, the LHC had declared unconstitutional all actions taken by the government against Musharraf, including the filing of a complaint on charges of high treason and the formation of a special court as well as its proceedings. The verdict led to the abolition of the death penalty handed down to him.

In December 2019, a special court in Islamabad found the ex-dictator guilty of high treason and handed him a death sentence under Article 6 of the Constitution. It marked the first time in Pakistan’s history that a military chief had been declared guilty and punished.

The Supreme Court order upholding Musharraf’s death sentence follows a series of legal battles and appeals, highlighting the legal complexities and challenges involved in pursuing the case against the former military ruler. Despite attempts to challenge the jurisdiction and appeal process, the Supreme Court ultimately dismissed all the set of appeals, solidifying the decision to uphold the death sentence originally handed down to Musharraf.