Pervez Musharraf, ex-President of Pakistan, passes away

Pervez Musharraf was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease amyloidosis in 2018 in the U.A.E.

Updated - February 05, 2023 05:09 pm IST

Published - February 05, 2023 11:57 am IST

Pakistan’s former President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf passed away. File

Pakistan’s former President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf passed away. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Former Pakistan President and Army chief Pervez Musharraf passed away on February 5 after a prolonged illness at a hospital in Dubai.

The former military dictator was reportedly in critical condition at American Hospital in Dubai with no possibility of recovery.

Musharraf, 79, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, was charged with high treason and given a death sentence in 2019 for suspending the Constitution. His death sentence was later suspended.

Musharraf seized power in a 1999 bloodless coup and was acting simultaneously as Pakistan’s army chief, chief executive, and president when the 9/11 attacks on the United States took place.

Also Read | Obituary | Pervez Musharraf, a Pakistani President with a mixed legacy

The general twice suspended the constitution and was accused of rigging a referendum shoring up his power, as well as rampant rights abuses including rounding up opponents.

Rare illness

He was said to be hospitalised due to a complication of his ailment amyloidosis, a rare disease that occurs when an abnormal protein builds up in organs and interferes with normal function.

He was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease in 2018 in the U.A.E. Musharraf left for Dubai in March 2016 for medical treatment. He was declared a fugitive in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the Red Mosque cleric killing case.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nearly nine years, starting when then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attempted to remove him as army chief.

Many Pakistanis handed out sweets to celebrate his 1999 coup, which ended a corrupt and economically disastrous administration.

But his easygoing persona failed to mask the blurring of the division between the state and army, and Musharraf fell out of favour after trying to sack the chief justice and failing to control an unravelling economy.

He famously said the constitution “is just a piece of paper to be thrown in the dustbin” — and implemented emergency rule when a bid to sack the country’s chief justice sparked months of protests.

After the December 2007 assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, the national mood soured even more and crushing losses suffered by his allies in the 2008 elections left him isolated.

He resigned that same year and was forced into exile.

Failed return bid

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 was charged over the slaying of Bhutto and placed under house arrest as a series of cases against him were brought before the courts.

In 2013 Human Rights Watch urged the government of the day to hold him accountable for “widespread and serious human rights violations” during his rule.

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.

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi prayed “for eternal rest of the departed soul and courage to the bereaved family to bear this loss”, his office said in a statement.

(With AFP inputs)

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.