Pervez Musharraf: An Army general, dictator and convict

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 17, 2019, 02.28 PM(IST)

File Photo: A supporter holds a picture of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.  Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Musharraf was first booked for treason in December 2013 and was indicted on March 31, 2014, The prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September the same year. 

By: Mallika Singh

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was sentenced to death on Tuesday by the Pakistan High Court on the accounts of high treason. 

The three-judge Bench handed out a death sentence to Musharraf for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007. 

Musharraf was first booked for treason in December 2013 and was indicted on March 31, 2014, The prosecution had tabled the entire evidence before the special court in September the same year. 

However, due to litigation at appellate forums, the trial of the former military dictator lingered on and he left Pakistan in March 2016.

Born on August 11, 1943, Musharraf - a retired four-star army general - was the 10th President of Pakistan whose presidency lasted from 2001 until 2008 when he had to render his resignation to avoid impeachment. 

Born in Delhi, in undivided India, Musharraf was raised in Istanbul and Karachi and went on to join the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961. 

Rising through the ranks, Musharraf was appointed as the head of the Pakistani Armed Forces by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in October 1988 and also led the Kargil infiltration against India in 1999. 

Musharraf led a military coup against the democratic government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999, overtaking Sharif as the head of the country and placing him under house arrest. 

Although he had promised a subsequent return to civilian rule, Musharraf suspended the constitution and dissolved the Parliament, appointing the National Security Council to rule the country. 

Musharraf was later appointed as the President of Pakistan on June 20, 2001, and after a dubious referendum, his presidency was extended for five years in May 2002. 

Later in the same year, Musharraf reinstated a heavily amended constitution and general elections were held under the supervision of the army in which the Pakistan Muslim League- Q emerged victoriously. 

Musharraf’s move to seek reelection in 2007 faced opposition from the Pakistan Supreme Court over the issue of him continuing to be the head of the state and the army. 

Amid rising tensions, the supreme court delayed the results of his reelection to which Musharraf responded by declaring a state of emergency in the country citing terrorist threats. 

Emergency enabled him to suspend the constitution again, dismiss the chief justice and replace the supreme court bench who later dismissed the legal challenges to Musharraf’s reelection. Following which Musharraf resigned from his military post and become a civilian president. 

During the emergency, Musharraf arrested several opposition leaders and imposed strict restrictions on the media. 

Post the emergency uplift in December, several amendments were again made to the constitution that protected measures enforced during the emergency rule. 

In the elections of February 2008, Musharraf’s party was widely rejected by the people of Pakistan and saw the reelection of Sharif with the help of coalition with Asif Ali Zardari. 

Hence began the impeachment proceedings against Musharraf, leading him to announce his resignation on August 18. 

Musharraf tried to return to electoral politics in March 2013 elections, His attempts to contest from his newly formed All Pakistan Muslim League were thwarted due to several political and legal obstacles, leading to his disqualification. 

He was later permitted to move to Dubai to seek medical assistance in 2016, where he remains till date to seek treatment for amyloidosis.