Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former president and a four-star general, passed away in a Dubai hospital after a prolonged illness. He was 79 years old and was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease caused by a build-up of abnormal protein in organs and tissues.
Musharraf took power in 1999 through a military coup and served as the chief executive of Pakistan. He went on to become the country’s tenth president in June 2001 but stepped down in August 2008 due to a possible impeachment. He was living in self-imposed exile in Dubai since March 2016, facing a treason case for suspending the Constitution in 2007. Additionally, he was declared a fugitive in the murder cases of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the Red Mosque cleric.
Musharraf’s family announced his hospitalization in June 2022, stating that recovery was not possible as his organs were malfunctioning. Upon his death, the heads of Pakistan’s army, navy and air force expressed their condolences. A special flight has been arranged to bring his body back to Pakistan for burial.
Born in New Delhi in 1943, Musharraf migrated to Pakistan with his family when he was four years old. His father works in the foreign ministry while his mother was a school teacher. He joined the Pakistan army in 1961 and participated in the India-Pakistan wars in 1965 and 1971. Over the years, he was promoted to the rank of a four-star general. He is believed to be the chief architect of the Kargil War that took place in 1999.
As the president, Musharraf visited Agra in 2001 for a peace summit with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but negotiations broke down and a treaty was never signed. After the 9/11 attacks in the US, he aligned Pakistan with Washington during its military intervention in Afghanistan.
However, his political career was not without controversies. After the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007, his allies suffered major losses in the 2008 elections. In 2013, he was disqualified from running in an election and in December 2019, he was sentenced to death by a special court in the high treason case against him.
Pervez Musharraf’s death marks the end of an era in Pakistani politics, as he was a significant figure in the country’s history, both as a military leader and as a president.