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20 Dec, 2019 00:00

Pakistan govt seeks to oust ‘mentally unfit’ judge who ordered Musharraf’s corpse ‘be hanged for 3 days’

Pakistan govt seeks to oust ‘mentally unfit’ judge who ordered Musharraf’s corpse ‘be hanged for 3 days’

Islamabad will ask a judicial authority to remove the head judge in ex-President Pervez Musharraf’s treason case, after the verdict ordering his dead body to be hanged in public sparked a backlash.

Musharraf, 76, was sentenced to death in absentia on Tuesday, after a three-judge panel found him guilty of treason for imposing a state of emergency and suspending the constitution in 2007.

The detailed 169-page judgement was released on Thursday, and immediately sparked controversy due to paragraph 66, buried deep in the text. Included by the president of the panel, Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, the paragraph states that if the ailing Musharraf passes away before being executed, his dead body “(should) be dragged to D-Chowk [a square outside the Pakistani parliament], Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for three days.”

Also on rt.com PM Khan questions fairness of Musharraf trial, holds emergency meeting after death sentence

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, which indicated it would side with Musharraf’s lawyers in the looming appeal process, came out swinging after the text was released. Law Minister Farogh Naseem denounced the bizarre order as an “unprecedented and despicable observation by the judge.”

Naseem said that the government would take the issue to the Supreme Judicial Council and ask it to strip the judge of his authority, as it believes Seth is unfit to carry out his duties.

“If a judge gives such a judgment then such a judge is mentally unfit and incompetent.”

The order to parade Musharraf’s corpse has sent waves across Pakistan, drawing condemnation from the Pakistani legal community and netizens alike. Some legal experts argued that while the judgment might have been warranted, the all too specific hanging instructions have put the “historic” verdict in jeopardy, robbing it of its value.

"What sort of insanity was going through the mind of Justice Seth? You are supposed to uphold the rule of law, not the rule of the lynch mob," lawyer Hassan A. Niazi tweeted, while another legal expert, Zafar Zulqarnain Sahi, blasted it as the “worst para[graph] in judgement” ever made by a court.

Some argued that the inclusion of what some may see as vindictive language in the verdict could only increase Musharraf’s chances for a successful appeal.

"This deserves no place in any legal system. Also, if you’re into betting, you can make a good bet because of this, the case will be remanded," Lawyer Waqqas Mir tweeted.

Many netizens are up in arms over the wording – straight out of the Middle Ages…

Others pointed out that the hanging recommendation was not part of the court order, but the panel leader’s comment that somehow made its way into the final judgment.

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