Exiled former Pakistan military leader Pervez Musharraf dismissed the unprecedented treason conviction and death sentence handed to him earlier this week, saying the ruling was the result of a “personal vendetta”.
The special court’s decision announced Tuesday marked the first time a former leader of the armed forces has been convicted of treason and sentenced to death in Pakistan, where the military wields enormous power and has ruled the country for roughly half its 72-year history.
“This case was taken up and proceeded due to a personal vendetta by some people against me,” said Musharraf in a video statement released by his assistant late Wednesday night.
Musharraf -- who is reportedly in Dubai and in poor health -- appeared in a hospital bed in the video looking frail and was straining to speak.
The former general however said he remained undecided on his next move or whether his legal team was planning to appeal the conviction.
Meanwhile, Musharraf’s lawyers said they will appeal against the sentence to the Supreme Court, which the government, the complainant in the treason case, is unlikely to oppose.
The treason case -- which began in 2013 and is one of several involving Musharraf -- centred on his decision to suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule in 2007.
The ruling has infuriated Pakistan’s security establishment, with the military’s spokesman swiftly condemning the verdict and saying the armed forces were in “pain and anguish” over the decision.
“An ex-Army Chief, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee and President of Pakistan, who has served the country for over 40 years, fought wars for the defence of the country can surely never be a traitor,” the military said Tuesday.
Prime Minister Imran Khan -- a former rival of Musharraf -- has stayed largely quiet since the ruling.