Musharraf must face accountability for all crimes, not just a few – Watchdog


Following the conviction and sentencing to death of former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Amnesty International commented that the former leader and his government must also be held accountable for all the human rights violations committed during their time office, and not just a select few.

The ex-military leader has been sentenced in absentia for high treason by a three-member special court in Islamabad on Tuesday for violating the constitution by unlawfully declaring emergency rule while he was in power, in a case that had been ongoing since 2013. He has the option to appeal his conviction.

The 76-year-old former ruler has lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for more than three years.

“General Pervez Musharraf and the government he led must be held to account for all human rights violations committed during their time in office, not just a select few. This includes extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions, deaths in custody, unlawful killings and other serious human rights violations committed against the political opposition, human rights defenders, members of civil society and suspected members of armed groups,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

“No one is above the law, and it is encouraging to see Pakistan break with a history of impunity for powerful generals. At the same time, it is crucial that he receives a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment; it metes out vengeance, not justice,” Waraich stressed.

Musharraf has led a military coup in 1999 to seize the government and ruled Pakistan as President until 2008.

During his nearly nine-year rule, Amnesty International documented widespread human rights violations by Pakistan’s security forces, including killing, enforced disappearance and torture of members of armed groups, political activists and human rights defenders.

In 2014, the former general was indicted on a total of five charges, including three counts of subverting, suspending and changing the country’s constitution, firing Pakistan’s chief justice, and imposing emergency rule. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)