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The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government on Tuesday came out in support of former Army chief Pervez Musharraf, saying it would defend the self-exiled military dictator during any appeals filed on his behalf.
Addressing a press conference on a special court announcing the death penalty for Musharraf for high treason over his abrogation of the Constitution in 2007, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan and Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan claimed the treason trial had been conducted “unfairly” and without recording the statement of Musharraf.
“Musharraf was not given a chance to record his statement under Article 342 [of the Constitution], to present his testimony and witnesses and his request to record his statement through video link or before a commission was turned down by the judge,” he said, ignoring that the former Army chief had been declared an absconder, a designation that allows for the trial and sentencing of an accused in absentia. “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. A trial should not just be fair but also seen to be fair,” he added. Ironically, the government is claiming Musharraf was denied rights under the very Constitution that he has been found guilty of holding in abeyance.