yed Pervez Musharraf, the second of three brothers, was born in Delhi on 11th August, 1943. His parents chose to settle in Karachi after the creation of Pakistan. He comes from a middle-class family. His father Syed Musharraf-ud-Din graduated from Aligarh Muslim University and entered the Civil Service, which was an extremely prestigious career under British rule. Pervez Musharraf spent his early years in Turkey from 1949 to 1956, owing to his father was on diplomatic deputation in Ankara. He also learned to speak Turkish Fluently and accepts Mustafa Kamal Ataturk as his hero.
Born on 11 Aug 1943
Died on 5 Feb 2023
Pakistani Military Leader and Politician
On return to Pakistan from Turkey, he received his education from Saint Patrick’s High School, Karachi, and then attended FC College, Lahore for his Intermediate, where he chose Mathematics as a major in which he excelled academically, but later developed his interest in Economics.
In 1961, at the age of 18, he joined the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul. During his college years at PMA and initial joint military testing, he shared a room with PQ Mehdi of the Pakistan Air Force and Abdul Aziz Mirza of the Pakistan Navy (both reached four-star assignments and served with him later on) and after giving the exams and entrance interviews, all three cadets went to watch a world-acclaimed Urdu film, ‘Savera’ (Dawn), with his inter-services and college friends, Musharraf recalls, In the Line of Fire, published in 2006. With his friends, he passed the standardized, physical, psychological, and officer-training exams, he also took discussions involving socio-economics issues; all three were interviewed by joint military officers who were designated as Commandants. Later he along with PQ Mehdi and AA Mirza reported to PMA and they were selected for their respective training in their arms of commission.
In 1964, he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in his class of the 29th PMA Long Course together with Ali Kuli Khan and his lifelong friend Abdul Aziz Mirza. He was commissioned in the artillery regiment as Second Lieutenant and posted near the Indo-Pakistan border. During this time in the artillery regiment, Musharraf maintained his close friendship and contact with Mirza through letters and telephones even in difficult times when Mirza, after joining the Navy Special Service Group, was stationed in East Pakistan as a military adviser to Eastern Corps.
He fought in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 as a young officer and was awarded Imtiazi Sanad Medal for Gallantry. He also achieved the Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) and the Tamgha-i-Basalat. He has been also on the faculty of the Command and Staff College, Quetta and the war wing of the National Defence College. He volunteered to be a commando and remained in the Special Services Group for seven years. He also participated in the Indo-Pak War of 1971 as a Company Commander in the Commando Battalion.
He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1974 and to Colonel in 1978. As Staff Officer in the 1980s, he studied Political Science at the National Defence University (NDU), and then briefly tenured as an Assistant Professor of war studies at the Command and Staff College and then as an Assistant Professor of Political Science also at NDU. One of his professors at NDU was General Jehangir Karamat who served as Musharraf’s guidance counselor and instructor and had a significant influence on Musharraf’s philosophy and critical thinking. He did not play any significant role in Pakistan’s proxy war in the 1979–1989 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1987, he became a brigade commander of a new brigade of the SSG near Siachen Glacier. He was personally chosen by then-President and Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq for this assignment due to Musharraf’s wide experience in mountain and arctic warfare. In September 1987, he commanded an assault at Bilafond La before being pushed back.
He also studied at the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in Britain during 1990–91. His course-mates included Major-Generals BS Malik and Ashok Mehta of the Indian Army and Ali Kuli Khan of the Pakistan Army. In his course studies, he performed extremely in relation to his classmates, submitted his Master’s degree thesis titled “Impact of Arms Race in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent” and earned good remarks. He submitted his thesis to Commandant General Antony Walker who regarded him as one of the finest students he had seen in his entire career. At one point, Walker described him as “A capable, articulate and extremely personable officer, who made a valuable impact at RCDS. His country is fortunate to have the services of a man of his undeniable quality.” He graduated with a Master’s degree from RCDS and returned to Pakistan soon after. Upon returning in the 1980s, he took an interest in the emerging Pakistani rock music genre and often listened to rock music after leaving duty. During that decade, regarded as the time when rock music in Pakistan began, Musharraf was reportedly keen on the popular Western fashions of the time, which were then very popular in government and public circles. Whilst in the Army he earned the nickname “Cowboy” for his Westernized ways and his fashion interest in Western clothing.
In 1988–89, as Brigadier, he proposed the Kargil infiltration to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto but she refused the plan. In 1991–93, he secured a two-star promotion, elevating him to the rank of Major General and held the command of the 40th Division as its GOC, stationed in Okara Military District in Punjab Province. From 1993–95, he as Major-General worked closely with the Chief of Army Staff as Director-General of Pakistan Army’s Directorate General for Military Operations (DGMO). During this time, he became close to the Engineering Officer and Director-General of ISI Lieutenant-General Javed Nasir and worked with him while directing operations in the Bosnian War. His political philosophy was influenced by Benazir Bhutto who mentored him on various occasions, and he generally was close to Benazir Bhutto on military policy issues in India. During the same years, he repeatedly visited the United States as part of the delegation of Benazir Bhutto. It was Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman who lobbied for his promotion to Benazir Bhutto and subsequently got his promotion papers approved by Benazir Bhutto, which eventually led to his appointment in Benazir Bhutto’s key staff. In 1993, he personally assisted Benazir Bhutto to have a secret meeting at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, DC with officials from Mossad and a special envoy of Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin. It was during this time he built an extremely cordial relationship with Shaukat Aziz who, at that time, was serving as the Executive President of global financial services of Citibank.
After the collapse of the fractious Afghan Government, he assisted General Babar and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in devising a policy of supporting the newly formed Taliban in the Afghan civil war against the Northern Alliance government. On policy issues, he befriended senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Justice Rafiq Tarar (later President) and held common beliefs with the latter.
His last military field operations posting was in the Mangla region of the Kashmir Province in 1995 when Benazir Bhutto approved the promotion of him to three-star, Lieutenant-General. Between 1995 and 1998, Lieutenant-General Musharraf was the Corps Commander of I Strike Corps (CC-1) stationed in Mangla.
In October 1998 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him head of the armed forces in October 1998. Musharraf is believed to have played a key role in the invasion of the Indian-administered portion of the disputed Kashmir region in the summer of 1999. Under international pressure, Sharif later ordered the troops to pull back to Pakistani-controlled territory, a move that angered the military.
On October 12, 1999, while Musharraf was out of the country, Sharif dismissed him and tried to prevent the plane carrying Musharraf home from landing at the Karachi airport. The armed forces, however, took control of the airport and other government installations and deposed Sharif, paving the way for Musharraf to become head of a military government. Although he was generally considered to hold moderate views and promised an eventual return to civilian rule, Musharraf suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament. He formed the National Security Council, made up of civilian and military appointees, to run Pakistan in the interim. In early 2001 he assumed the presidency and later attempted to negotiate an agreement with India over the Kashmir region. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the United States and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan later that year, the U.S. government cultivated close ties with Musharraf in an attempt to root out Islamic extremists in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
Over the next several years, he survived a number of assassination attempts. He reinstated the constitution in 2002, though it was heavily amended with the Legal Framework Order (LFO)-a provision of which extended his term as President for another five years. Parliamentary elections were held in October 2002, and in late 2003 the legislature ratified most provisions of the LFO.
In 2007, he sought confirmation to the Presidency, but he faced opposition from Pakistan’s Supreme Court, primarily over the issue of his continuing to serve simultaneously as both President and Head of the Military. The court thwarted his attempt to suspend the Chief Justice, and in October it delayed the results of his confirmation (by the parliament). In November he responded by declaring a state of emergency. Citing growing terrorist threats, he suspended the constitution for a second time, dismissed the Chief Justice and replaced other justices on the Supreme Court, arrested opposition political leaders, and imposed restrictions on the independent press and media. Later that month the reconstituted Supreme Court dismissed the last legal challenges to his endorsement, and he resigned his military post to become a civilian President. He ended the state of emergency in mid-December, though, before restoring the constitution, he instituted several amendments to it that protected the measures enacted during emergency rule.
In February 2008, the poor performance of his party in the parliamentary elections was widely seen as a rejection of the President and his rule. The elections yielded an opposition coalition headed by Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who had been assassinated in December 2007. Citing grave constitutional violations, the governing coalition moved in early August 2008 to begin impeachment proceedings against him and faced with the impending charges, he announced his resignation on August 18, 2008.
In October 2010, after a period of self-imposed exile, he announced the formation of a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League and vowed to return to Pakistan in time for the 2013 General elections. He did so in March 2013, but his bid to stand in elections faced a variety of legal and political obstacles, including several open criminal investigations regarding his actions as President. On April 18 a Pakistani court disqualified him from entering the race because of an ongoing investigation regarding his suspension of the constitution in 2007. He was arrested the following day to face charges stemming from the investigation. In August 2013, while still under house arrest, murder charges were filed against him in connection with Bhutto’s assassination in 2007.
In 2016, he was permitted to leave the country to seek medical treatment in Dubai (UAE), where he remained thereafter. In late 2018 it was revealed that his health was rapidly deteriorating due to amyloidosis. He was convicted a year later in absentia on charges of high treason and sentenced to death, though his state of health made any return to Pakistan unlikely. In January 2020, the special court that issued the sentence was ruled unconstitutional, and his conviction was overturned. The unanimous verdict was delivered by a three-member bench of the Lahore High Court, consisting of Justice Sayed Muhammad Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir. The court ruled that the prosecution against him was politically motivated and that the crimes of high treason and subverting the Constitution were “a joint offence” that “cannot be undertaken by a single person.”
On 5th February 2023, he died at age 79 due to amyloidosis. He had been hospitalized a year prior due to the disease. His body was returned to Karachi, Pakistan, from Dubai on 6th February 2023. His funeral prayers were offered at a mosque in Karachi’s Gulmohar Polo Ground in Malir Cantonment on 7th February 2023 and he was laid to rest with military honours in an Army Graveyard in Karachi.
He published his autobiography named ‘In the Line of Fire ‘in 2006. His book has also been translated into Urdu, Hindi, Tamil and Bengali. In Urdu, the title is ‘Sab Se Pehle Pakistan’ (Pakistan Comes First).