Pakistan’s former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, the architect of the Kargil War, toppled the democratically-elected government in a bloodless military coup in 1999 and ruled the country for nine years during which he survived numerous assassination bids.
Here is a timeline on the Pakistan’s last military ruler during his reign in power in Pakistan.
Born on August 11, 1943, in New Delhi, Pervez Musharraf was the son of a diplomat. His family moved to Karachi in 1947, joining millions of other Muslims in fleeing westward.
He joined the Pakistan Army in 1964 at age 18 and was a graduate of the Army Staff and Command College, Quetta. Musharraf assumed the post of Chief Executive after imposing martial law in the country in 1999.
Musharraf seized the presidential office in 2001, shoring his power up in a 2002 referendum questioned by opponents. But he reneged on promises to quit as army chief until late 2007. He served as the President of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008.
He aligned with the United States after the 9/11 attacks, earning international praise for trying to tackle Taliban and al-Qaeda militants. In more than seven years in office, Musharraf oversaw a stint of economic growth while dodging at least three assassination attempts.
Militant anger toward Musharraf increased in 2007 when he ordered a raid against the Red Mosque in downtown Islamabad. It had become a sanctuary for militants opposed to Pakistan’s support of the Afghan war. The weeklong operation killed over 100 people. The incident severely damaged Musharraf’s reputation among everyday citizens. Fearing the judiciary would block his continued rule, Musharraf fired the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
Under pressure at home and abroad to restore civilian rule, Musharraf stepped down as Army chief. Though he won another five-year presidential term, Musharraf faced a major crisis following former PM Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007 at a campaign rally as she sought to become Prime Minister for the third time. In the picture, Musharraf (L) glares at supporters of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto who were shouting slogans "Bhutto is alive" as newly elected Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) looks on after taking oath at the presidential palace in Islamabad on March 25, 2008.
The public suspected Musharraf’s hand in the killing, which he denied. A United Nations report later acknowledged the Pakistani Taliban was a main suspect in her slaying but warned that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence services may have been involved. Musharraf resigned as president in August 2008 after ruling coalition officials threatened to have him impeached for imposing emergency rule and firing judges.
Musharraf’s plan to return to power in 2013 was dashed when he was disqualified from running in an election won by Nawaz Sharif — the man he deposed in 1999. He lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai to avoid criminal charges. Supporters of Musharraf hold his posters as they shout slogans during a rally outside his farmhouse in Islamabad on April 18, 2014.
In October 2010, Musharraf launched his own party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML). The party, however, failed to pick up steam, winning just one Parliamentary seat in the 2013 elections and none in 2018.
In 2016 a travel ban was lifted and Musharraf flew to Dubai to seek medical treatment. Three years later, he was sentenced to death in absentia for treason, related to his 2007 decision to impose emergency rule. However, a court later nullified the ruling. Musharraf’s family announced in June 2022 that he had been hospitalised for weeks while suffering from amyloidosis, an incurable condition that sees proteins build up in the body’s organs.
Less than three years after the Kargil conflict, Musharraf surprised many when he reached out to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for a handshake after addressing delegates at the 11th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit on January 5, 2002, in Kathmandu.
On April 17, 2005, Musharraf met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Cricket Summit in New Delhi when the Pakistani Cricket Team visited to play a test and ODI series with India. It was on the sidelines of this summit when the two leaders reportedly reached some kind of a resolution on Kashmir. It is believed that among Pakistani leaders, Musharraf came the closest to reaching a solution with India on the Kashmir issue, despite playing a key role in triggering the Kargil conflict. His administration held backchannel talks with both Vajpayee's and Manmohan Singh’s Governments.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush meets Musharraf in the White House on December 4, 2004. Musharraf managed to lobby Mr. Bush, who often described the former as an ally and as a leader who was “strong in the war on terror”. The late leader convinced Mr. Bush to pour funds into Pakistan’s military, while it was publicly unambiguous that Pakistan’s intelligence was cutting deals with the likes of the Taliban and helping strengthen insurgency against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.