Impact of Musharraf Death Sentence on Pakistani Politics

agitation against pervez musharraf death sentence

On 17 December, the former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf was awarded the death sentence by the special court in Pakistan on the charges of high treason. This is the historic verdict as it is the first time in Pakistani history that any military dictator has been tried and convicted.

Pervez Musharraf ruled the country from 1999 to 2008, for almost 9 years and during this period he was the strongest ruler in Pakistan, enjoying the support and consent of the western leaders as a key ally of the U.S in War against Terrorism. He came into power in 1999 as a result of military coup and the Coup d’état of Pervez Musharraf was first covered by the Court and then by the Parliament. However, imposition of emergency by Pervez Musharraf in 20007 was challenged in court after he was forced to step down.

Almost a decade ago, the then Army Chief, Mr. Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution of Pakistan and imposed a state of emergency to keep control of his authority. The case against him was pending in courts since 2014 and after he left the country in 2016 to receive medical treatment abroad, the case was heard in his absence and finally the court convicted him on December 17.

The decision by the special court has stirred strong sentiments from all the stakeholders in the country. A severe reaction from the masses against this decision has upset not only the government but also the opposition parties are confused weather to support the court decision or oppose it. The main party that was supposed to welcome the conviction has not still commented on this decision and its leader Shahbaz Sharif has said from London that “he was unaware of the developments regarding Musharraf’s treason case”.

The response on the verdict from the second biggest political party PPP leadership came through a tweet by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who only tweeted that “Democracy is the best revenge.”

Rally against the death sentence of pervez musharraf in sahiwal by the civil society
A rally organized by young journalists society international and other students organizations at Sahiwal to support army

The widespread rallies from the public in many cities of Pakistan demonstrate that the general public didn’t like this decision and it has impacted the judiciary image badly. People are annoyed by the decision of Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth who wrote that if Pervez Musharraf be found dead beforehand, “his corpse (should) be dragged to D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for three days”. Against this decision, many ulemas in Pakistan have issued fatwa against that judge and said that this is totally against the Islamic injunctions. People are also concerned and emotional as this verdict is issued during the pervez musharraf illness. At present, Pervez Mushahrraf is under treatment in Dubai and pervez musharraf health is not stable. Latest pervez musharraf latest pics also show that is in critical condition and for some time there were rumors is pervez musharraf alive?

city press club sahiwal rally against musharraf sentence
President city press club sahiwal Haji Waqar Yaqoob leading the rally at Sahiwal

The reaction from the military on this conviction was strong which vehemently denied the allegation against Pervez Musharraf as being a traitor. Commenting on the verdict, the military spokesman General Asif Ghafoor said: “Musharraf, who served for over 40 years and fought wars in the defense of the country “can surely never be a traitor.” The military spokesman further said:

“It’s been received with lot of pain and anguish by rank and file of Pakistan armed forces. The due legal process seems to have been ignored.”

The government which is close to the military establishment did not issue any official statement on the verdict. However, the minister for science and technology Mr. Fawad Choudhry stated that “We need to unite the country. Why take decisions that divide the nation and its institutions?”

Although the verdict has been announced, its implementation may not be an easy process according to the political analysts. There is still a lot of process to be completed before its implementation and the lawyers of Pervez Musharraf have already indicated to appeal against the verdict. Still, this decision is considered to be a strong message for the military establishment from the judiciary.

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Niaz Shakir is the CEO of UK Newsline and the former Sub Editor at the Daily Mashriq Balochistan. He has written numerous articles in Urdu and English in various newspapers of Pakistan.

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