Pervez Musharraf: Former Pakistani President Dies in Dubai
Pakistan’s former president, General Pervez Musharraf, has died in Dubai after a long illness at the American Hospital in Dubai, according to a statement from the Pakistani military. He was 79 years old.
In a statement sent to CNN, senior military officials expressed their “sincere condolences” for the “sad loss of General Pervez Musharraf”.
“May Allah bless the soul of the deceased and give strength to the bereaved family,” the statement read.
Tributes and messages of condolence poured in from Pakistani politicians.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his “condolences and sympathy to the family” of the former leader in a statement on Sunday.
Pakistani Senate Speaker Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani also expressed his “deep sadness and sorrow”, while the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan who was ousted in a vote of defiance last year, said, “Our prayers and condolences go out to his family and we share their grief.”
The former leader, who had been living in self-imposed exile in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates since 2016, seized power from former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – the older brother of Shehbaz Sharif – in a military coup in 1999 and appointed himself president in 2001, while remaining at the head of the army. He continued to rule Pakistan as president until 2008.
Musharraf became a key US ally after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and he tried to become an indispensable figure in the fight against Islamic extremism.
But his tenure in power has been marred by controversy and he has been accused of widespread human rights abuses and oppression.
His tenure was punctuated by two failed assassination attempts in 2003. In November 2007, he declared a state of emergency, suspended Pakistan’s constitution, replaced the chief justice and shut down independent television stations.
Musharraf said he did so to stabilize the country and combat rising Islamist extremism. The action drew heavy criticism from the United States and democracy advocates. Pakistanis have openly called for its removal.
Under pressure from the West, Musharraf later lifted the state of emergency and called elections, held in February 2008, in which his party fared poorly.
He resigned in August 2008 after the governing coalition began taking steps to impeach him.
Musharraf later went into exile but returned to Pakistan in 2013 with the aim of contesting the country’s national elections. Instead, his plans fell apart as he became entangled in a web of legal cases related to his tenure in power.
In 2019, he was sentenced to death in absentia for high treason. The decision was later reversed.
Musharraf had been living in Dubai since March 2016, when Pakistan’s Supreme Court lifted a travel ban, allowing him to leave the country for treatment there.
He was married to Sehba Musharraf and had a son and a daughter.