The Special Court’s Last Verdict, the Pain and Anguish


Since independence, Pakistan has been run by military dictators for four-time; most of them served as president for many years either through insubstantial elections or bizarre constitutional clauses to hide the despotism nature of their rules. Like other dictators on October 12, 1999, Pervez Musharraf toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s stable government through a coup d’etant and preferably emerged as chief executive of the state. Thus, Pakistan’s fourth military came in power; his reign lasted for nearly a decade further in his reign he suspended the constitution from November 3 to December 15 in 2007, declare a state emergency and places dozen of senior judges and attorneys under house arrest. More readily in December, he restored the constitution yet again.

The story became perceptible when in 2009 the Supreme Court ruled the decision to suspend the constitution and declared a state emergency by the Musharraf in 2007 was illegal – after three years in 2013 the Nawaz’s government brought the case of high treason against him for declaring a state emergency and suspending the constitution. 

The six-year delayed decision is once again brought to the account recently, this week the special court found the former military dictator Pervez Musharraf guilty of high-treason under the constitution conferring to article 6 section-1 which say “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”

Under such circumstances, the suspending of constitutions and declaring a state emergency –  sentenced him to death. Section 2 of article 6 also says, “any person aiding or abetting 2[or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason. For which the special court has also taken notice to take actions against those who aided and supported the illegal efforts of both suspending and declaring an emergency.

A final detailed verdict announced by the special court this week with one dissenting judge and two judges in favor decided the sentence of the former president. The two in support of the final verdict stated more unforgiving words, claimed that “ we direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan (a large public square near Pakistan’s parliament, presidency, and Supreme Court) and be hanged for 03 days. The two in favor also cited that constant dealy in many trails, rebuffing determinedly and obdurately attempted ever since the commencement of this trail.

The Recent Reaction of Civilian and Military

The former president Pervez Musharraf is currently in Dubai; in such situation, the sentence is improbable to be carried out even if the Special Court endorses the decision. Such decision has kindled political and legal conflagration across the country. Nonetheless, it’s not confirmed yet whether the choice against the former president may reach or not, but some of the civilians have condemned the decision while the military has seen such actions against the institutions.

Following the verdict of the high treason case against the Musharraf, the director of Inter-service Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor stated that the decision given by the special court against the former president give pain and anguish to many Pakistani armed forces. After the first decision, the ISPR called a meeting and unconfined a statement, saying that “the decision of SC against the former president Musharaf,  has been received lots of pain and anguish by ranked and files of Pakistani Armed Force, further saying that he [Musharraf] has served the country for almost forty-years, fought wars for the defense of the country can surely not be a traitor. The due legal process seems to have been ignored, including the constitution of SC, denial of fundamental rights of self-defense, undertaking individual-specific proceeding, and concluding the case in haste,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also spoke on the instance when the military had appeared furiously rejected the SC decision. After the initial verdict, Khan said, “any person who is suspected is not receiving justice, this government will stance that injustice. There is no doubt that a person who has committed treason must be punished, but in this case, the right to a fair trial particular by the constitution was not guaranteed. A prosecution must not only be appropriate but also be considered reasonable,” he said. The oppositions, on the other hand, who took the case to the SC, are pleased with the last and preliminary verdicts. 

Institutions are the lengthened shadow of one person; institutions are just the collection of rules and norms agreed upon by the human being. If political leaders or other people outbreak and abuse institutions, they will be enfeebled in this, in turn, will undermine the power and reputations of the country’s entire system. The current decision taken by the SC should be respected, albeit, for some reason, we should not challenge the forte of our well-reputed and rules-based institutions. If the rest ignores such influential decisions, in one vein,  such ignorance will somewhat discourage the juries, in the same vein; it will instead encourage the other to violate other basic laws. When people perpetuate war crime, undermining states’ laws, and especially the constitution, which is considered the backbone of a country, the essential decision is to hold them accountable if we fail to keep them responsible for such actions; it will hearten the rest as well.  

Asad Ullah
Asad Ullah
Majoring International Relations at Shandong University, Shandong Qingdao China