General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup in Pakistan and supported the U.S. in the post 9/11 war on terror, died in Dubai on Feb. 5 after a long illness. He was 79.
In June 2022, Musharraf’s family had revealed that he was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease that sees protein build up in the organs. He was undergoing treatment in Dubai for it and was admitted to hospital last year.
The Pakistani military and Pakistan’s mission in Dubai confirmed and condoled Musharraf’s death.
Musharraf was born in 1943 in New Delhi, British India. He was later raised in Karachi and Istanbul. He was admitted into the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961 and was commissioned into the Pakistan Army in 1964. He saw action in the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971.
He rose quickly to the upper echelons of the Pakistan military establishment and served as deputy military secretary and director general of military operations. He shot to national prominence when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him army chief in 1998 and India considers him the instigator of the military action in Kargil that led to the Indo-Pakistani war of 1999.
In 1999, Musharraf deposed Sharif in a bloodless coup and assumed power in Pakistan, and in 2001 he declared himself President of the country. The same year, post 9/11, he supported the U.S. war on terror against the Taliban, marking a reversal of Pakistan’s policy on the group at the time. A Musharraf-led coalition won the general elections in Pakistan in 2002.
In 2001, Musharraf visited Delhi and had a historic summit with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, with the main topic of discussion being Kashmir. The issue remained unresolved.
In 2006, Musharraf lifted a ban on Bollywood films that had been in place since the 1965 war.
In 2007, Musharraf’s position weakened with the departure of a few key allies and he suspended the judiciary and later declared a state of emergency in the country. During his tenure, there were several assassination attempts made on him. By 2008, his position had become untenable and he resigned and moved to London.
In 2013, Musharraf returned to Pakistan to contest the elections. Sharif was re-elected and initiated high treason charges against Musharraf for his actions of 2007. In 2016, Musharraf moved to Dubai. He was sentenced to death in absentia in 2019 but the sentence was later annulled.
Pakistan’s current Prime Minister. Shehbaz Sharif, tweeted: “I offer my condolences to the family of General (rtd) Pervez Musharraf. May the departed soul rest in peace!”