Thu | Jan 21, 2021

Pakistan court overturns death penalty for ex-president

Published:Monday | January 13, 2020 | 3:52 PM
In this Monday, April 15, 2013 file photo, Pakistan's former President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf addresses his party supporters at his house in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash, File)

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court on Monday overturned the death sentence given to the country’s ex-military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, a former close United States ally in the war against terror.

The Lahore High Court ruled that the special tribunal formed to try the ex-president was not legal.

Musharraf’s defence team had petitioned the high court following the tribunal’s conviction last December that the former army general was guilty of imposing emergency laws in violation of the constitution during his rule.

Musharraf seized power in 1999 when he ousted the elected government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a military coup.

Eight years later, he imposed emergency rule and placed several key judges under house arrest.

The move drew nationwide condemnation and protests that led to his resignation in 2008.

“The death sentence given to Pervez Musharraf stands quashed after today’s court order,” Pakistani prosecutor Ishtiaq Khan told reporters.

Musharraf’s lawyer Azhar Sadique hailed the court’s verdict, but said: “let us see how government reacts.”

He claimed that Musharraf was a political target and had been falsely charged with treason by the government in 2014 after former premier Sharif returned to power.

Musharraf made Pakistan a key ally of the United States in its war on terror following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He allowed NATO to transport military equipment to land-locked Afghanistan through Pakistan and the US to use Pakistan’s air bases for logistic support.

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