Peshawar High Court Chief Justice dies of coronavirus

He handed down the death sentence to former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case.

Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Seth, who handed down the death sentence to former Pakistan President Gen (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case, passed away due to coronavirus-related complications at a private hospital in Islamabad, officials said on Friday.

He was 59 and is survived by his wife and a daughter. He belonged to Dikhan district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Seth tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) on October 22 and was subsequently admitted to a hospital in Peshawar. He was later shifted to Kulsum International Hospital in Islamabad, where he succumbed to the deadly viral infection on Thursday, the officials said.

Seth, who took oath as Peshawar High Court top judge in June 2018, rose to prominence when while heading a special court in December 2019, he handed down the death sentence to self-exiled former military dictator Musharraf in the high treason case for imposing emergency in the country on November 3, 2007.

Pervez Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, was the first military dictator convicted for subverting the Constitution. The 74-year-old retired general, who has been living in Dubai since March 2016, left Pakistan for medical treatment and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons.

According to Pakistani media reports, Musharraf suffers from amyloidosis, a rare disease caused by the build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues in the body.

Seth also presided over a number of high-profile cases, with one of his important judgments being the acquittal of 74 convicts of military courts, most of whom were awarded death sentences. The case is presently pending before the Supreme Court.

In another high-profile case, Seth gave judgement against giving more powers to the military in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

His funeral prayers will be offered on November 13 at the old Army Stadium ground in Peshawar. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa were among several dignitaries who expressed condolences over the demise of Seth.

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