A Pakistani special court sentenced former military dictator and president Pervez Musharraf to death in absentia, ending six-year long high treason proceedings against him for suspending the nation’s constitution in 2007.
In a two-to-one majority, the three-member special court headed by judge Waqar Ahmad Seth announced the verdict, his spokesman Mohammad Amjad said by phone on Tuesday. Musharraf, who has been in Dubai since 2016 seeking medical treatment, has the right to appeal in the Supreme Court, according to former attorney general Ashtar Ausaf.
It is the first time in Pakistan’s 72-year history that a military ruler was tried with high treason for imposing emergency rule and suspending the constitution in 2007. Musharraf, as the army chief, toppled the civilian government of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif in 1999 and later became the country’s military president.
The nation’s benchmark KSE-100 index fell as much as 1.5% before paring losses to 0.3% in Karachi.
Musharraf was a key ally of the U.S. after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York until he was forced to step down in 2008 to avoid impeachment by Parliament. Sharif began treason proceedings against Musharraf soon after he came back to power in 2013.
The court delayed the judgment in November after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration and the former military chief requested more time for arguments. An anti-terrorism court has already declared him absconder and ordered the confiscation of his assets in the murder case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Musharraf never attended legal proceedings due to what his counsels say his poor health.