PM Khan questions fairness of Musharraf trial, holds emergency meeting after death sentence
The Pakistani prime minister held an emergency party meeting after a special court in Islamabad sentenced ex-President Pervez Musharraf to death. Imran Khan believes the trial was not fair, and the government is looking into it.
Musharraf, 76, was sentenced in absentia on Wednesday over his decision to impose a state of emergency, which the three-judge court ruled to be treason and a violation of the constitution. The Pakistani Army denounced the ruling, saying the former general cannot be a traitor.
PM Khan returned to Pakistan from Geneva, where he attended a UN conference on refugees, to chair an emergency meeting of his party’s core committee to discuss the unprecedented sentence. His spokesperson said the party leadership needed an “in-depth view of the court’s judgement” before taking a formal stance on the matter.
Two of Khan’s trusted aides were also sent to assure the Pakistani military that the government will have Musharraf’s back during the expected appeal process.
Late Wednesday, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor spoke to journalists, saying he “will defend the law in the case but not any individual.” He added that the special court did not give a fair trial to the ex-general. The prime minister also questioned the fairness of the trial.
“There is no question that a person who had committed treason must be punished but in this case the right of fair trial guaranteed under the Constitution was not ensured,” he said as cited by the newspaper Dawn. “A trial should not just be fair but also seen to be fair.”
Musharraf ruled Pakistan for almost a decade after staging a bloodless military coup in 1999. The 2007 crisis came as he was seeking re-election as president. Critics say the time of his leadership signaled a rollback to the times of military dictatorships in Pakistan, but his supporters see him as a patriot and a staunch defender of Pakistani interests both at home and internationally.