Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s ex-President and U.S. ally in ‘war on terror,’ dies at 71


General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup. And later led a reluctant Pakistan to support the US war in Afghanistan against the Taliban, has died. An official said Sunday. He was 79.

Musharraf, a former special forces commando.

Became president through the last of a string of military coups since. The founding of Pakistan amid the bloody partition of India in 1947. He ruled the nuclear-armed state after his 1999 coup, fueled. By tensions with India, a nuclear proliferation scandal and an Islamic extremist insurgency. He resigned in 2008, facing possible impeachment.

Later in life, despite attempting a political comeback in 2012. Musharraf lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai to avoid criminal charges. But his poor health was not to plague his last years.

Musharraf’s family announced in June 2022. That he had been hospitalized for several weeks. While suffering from amyloidosis, an incurable condition. That sees a protein build up in the body’s organs.

Shazia Siraj, a spokeswoman for the Pakistani consulate in Dubai, confirmed his death. And said diplomats were providing help to his family.

A country almost twice the size of California on the Arabian Sea, Pakistan is now home to 220 million people. But it would be its border with Afghanistan that would soon attract US attention. And dominate Musharraf’s life after taking power.

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan saw Taliban fighters cross the border back into Pakistan. Including Osama bin Laden, whom the US would kill in 2011 at a compound in Abbottabad. They regrouped and the Pakistani Taliban emerged. Starting a year-long insurgency in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Militants attempted to assassinate Musharraf twice in 2003 by targeting his convoy. First by setting off a bomb on a bridge and then with a car bomb. In that second attack, Musharraf’s car exploded in the air. It ran for protection on its rims, with Musharraf pulling a Glock pistol in case he had to fight his way out.

Born on August 11, 1943 in New Delhi, India,


Musharraf was the middle son of a diplomat. His family joined millions of other Muslims fleeing westward. When independence from Britain in 1947 split Hindu India into Islamic Pakistan.

Musharraf entered the Pakistan Army at the age of 18. And began his career there as Islamabad fought three wars against India. He launched his own attempt to seize territory in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. Before taking power from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

According to US diplomats at the time. Musharraf as a ruler almost reached an agreement with India over Kashmir. He also worked towards rapprochement with Pakistan’s long-time adversary.

Musharraf’s domestic support waned. He held flawed elections in late 2002. Only after changing the constitution to give himself sweeping powers to dismiss. The prime minister and parliament. He then backtracked on his promise to step down as army chief by the end of 2004.

In 2007, militant and civilian anger against Musharraf grew. When he ordered a raid against the Red Mosque in central Islamabad. It became a sanctuary for militants opposed to Pakistan’s support in the Afghan war. More than 100 people were killed in the week-long operation.

Fearing that the judiciary would obstruct his continued rule.

Musharraf sacked the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Which triggered massive protests.

Musharraf stepped down as army chief under pressure at home and abroad to restore civilian rule. Although he won another five-year presidential term. Musharraf faced a major crisis after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. At a campaign rally in December 2007 as he sought a third term as prime minister.

People suspected Musharraf’s hand in the murder, which he denied. A later UN report acknowledged that the Pakistani Taliban were the prime suspects in his assassination. But warned that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies may have been involved.

Musharraf resigned as president in August 2008.

After ruling coalition officials threatened to impeach. Him for imposing emergency rule and dismissing judges.

He then lived abroad in Dubai and London. Pakistan instead arrested the former general. On sedition charges stemming from the Supreme Court debacle. And other charges stemming from the Red Mosque campaign and Bhutto’s assassination.

Pakistan allowed him to leave the country in Dubai on bail in 2016 for medical treatment. And later remained there after facing the death penalty.

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