Pakistani celebrities divided over former president Musharraf’s death sentence
The ex-president, who has been living in self-imposed exile since 2016, was sentenced to death in absentia on Tuesday. It’s the first time in the country’s history that a former leader of the armed forces has been convicted of high treason and sentenced to capital punishment.
The move proved to be highly divisive, as it invoked opposing reactions across the country. One point of view was voiced by Pakistan’s military, which condemned the judiciary and stated publicly that a man who’d served his country for over 40 years “can surely never be a traitor.”
If you look at all those celebrating today's one-sided verdict, most of them are either seasoned Army haters, commercial liberals or habitual critiques of General #Musharraf. It is very much evident, to whom this decision has pleased the most, bunch of naive rebels without cause.— Air Marshal Shahid Latif - (Retd) (@AMShahidLatif) December 17, 2019
Others, however, supported the ruling, arguing that the law must apply equally to all and the court’s decision must be respected – and that any military honors cannot be used as excuses for such wrongdoings.
Clearly the army thinks it's okay to overthrow a government, abrogate the constitution, impose emergency, commit countless human rights abuses as long as you are a military general who also served as president. #Pakistan#PervezMusharraf#Musharrafhttps://t.co/Iyxs5wxwNP— Mehreen Zahra-Malik (@mehreenzahra) December 17, 2019
Pakistani celebrities have delved into the controversy as well, with many hailing Musharraf as a national hero and expressing their support to the exiled president. Actor Shaan Shahid called Musharraf “a true Pakistani and a brave soldier,” who cannot be called a “traitor.”
Actress and TV personality Veena Malik also said that Musharraf “can be anything but a traitor.”
We live in a country where a man convicted for looting billions is given a safe passage to London while a former COAS who fought for Pakistan is given death sentence. You may have political differences with him but he can be anything but traitor. #Musharraf sahab we are with u.— VEENA MALIK (@iVeenaKhan) December 17, 2019
Some, however, maintained that the law must be universal and supported the ruling, condemning the army’s reaction to the verdict. Pakistani rapper and comedian Ali Gul Pir, for instance, said the judiciary must be respected and the military should keep its “anguish” to itself.Also on rt.com Pakistan Army expresses anguish over death sentence handed down to former president Musharraf
The military has a very special place in Pakistan’s politics; the country has lived through multiple coups since gaining independence and spent decades under the direct rule of the military. Therefore, many regard top military commanders as people who should not be prosecuted.
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