Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf died on Sunday (February 5) at 79 after an extended hospital stay in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He rose to power in a bloodless coup and later reluctantly led Pakistan to help the international coalition in the post-9/11 US-led war against Al Qaeda terrorist groups harboring Afghanistan and the Taliban regime’s war in Afghanistan.
Musharraf was born in August 1943. A former special forces commando, Musharraf became Pakistan’s president in a 1999 coup and led the country through tensions with India, a nuclear proliferation scandal, and an Islamic extremist insurgency.
In November 2007, Musharraf, also the army’s chief of staff, declared a state of emergency and dismissed nearly 60 judges, accused of violating the constitution. In August 2008, Musharraf resigned from the presidency under various pressures. Lived in the UK and UAE for most of the time after that. In March 2013, Musharraf returned home intending to participate in the general election but was banned by the court. In November of the same year, Pakistan launched proceedings against Musharraf on treason charges. In March 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan allowed Musharraf to go abroad for medical treatment.
The Associated Press reported that Musala had twice evaded assassination attempts by Islamist extremist militants.
Musharraf’s family announced last June that he had been hospitalized in Dubai with “amyloidosis,” an incurable disease in which protein builds up in body organs. Later, his family said he needed medication for multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma can lead to amyloidosis.
A spokesman for the Pakistani consulate in Dubai confirmed his death and said it was providing help to his family, the report said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif and the military have expressed their condolences on his death.
According to reports, after the al-Qaeda terrorist organization launched the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States, the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Musharraf that Pakistan must either stand with the United States or oppose the United States. Musharraf also later revealed that another US official threatened to blow Pakistan back to the “Stone Age” if it did not cooperate with the US.
Musharraf chose to stand with the United States, declaring support for the United States to fight “terrorism in any form wherever it exists” a month later.
Pakistan has become a key logistics supply transit point for the United States and NATO to launch the war against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, even though the Pakistani military intelligence had previously supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, Taliban and al-Qaeda militants fled into Pakistan, including bin Laden, who was purged by U.S. special forces in 2011.
Despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Pakistan, and Musharraf’s cooperation with the U.S., Taliban militants have thrived in Pakistan. This makes the US suspicious and has become a sticking point in US-Pakistan relations.
Anna Peterson, the US ambassador to Pakistan at the time, said in a leaked 2009 diplomatic cable that after 9/11, President Musharraf made a strategic shift to abandon the Taliban and support the US war on terror. Neither side, however, believes the other will live up to the expectations stemming from that decision. The relationship between the two parties has become a grudging interdependence.
Separately, Reuters reported that a former Musharraf aide said he was known as a military dictator, but that democracy under his leadership was more vital than ever. He allowed Pakistan to have free media, emphasizing the diversity of views in Pakistan.