ervez Musharraf, (born 11 August 1943) was Pakistan’s Army Chief and 10th President. He led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled Pakistan as Chief Executive from 1999–2001 and as President from 2001-08. In the face of likely impeachment, he resigned on 18 August 2008.
After years of military service, he rose to prominence when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him Army Chief in October 1998. He was the strategic mastermind behind the failed Kargil infiltration. After months of contentious relations, he took power through a bloodless military coup on Sharif’s democratically elected government.
As Pakistan’s head of state, he was a U.S. ally in the War on Terror. He was credited with the development of Pakistan’s economy during the early years of his rule. His limited popularity suffered after his suspension of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, the Lal Masjid siege. His attempt to institute emergency rule failed as calls for his impeachment escalated. The return of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif from exile fast-tracked the nation towards parliamentary democracy ending Musharraf’s reign.
In February 2011, a Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for him because of his alleged involvement in assassination of Benazir Bhutto. As of June 2011, he lives in self-exile in London but has vowed to return for the next election.
He was born on 11 August 1943 in Delhi of Uttar Pradesh, British India.He is the son of Syed and Zarin Musharraf. Syed graduated from Aligarh Muslim University and was a civil servant for the British. Zarin was born in the early 1920s.
His home was called neharwali haveli, literally “mansion by the canal”. The home is so large that it housed eight different families in 2001. The home was located in the epicenter of India’s ruling Mughal elite. Syed Ahmed Khan’s family lived adjacent to the home. The home’s title deeds were written entirely in Urdu except for his father’s English signature.
Pakistan and Turkey
He and his family left for Pakistan on one of the last safe trains in 1947 a few days before the partition of India. His father worked for Pakistani government and eventually joined the Foreign Ministry. In his autobiography Line of Fire, he elaborates on his first experience with death was after falling off a mango tree.
His family moved to Ankara after his father’s diplomatic deputation was sent by Pakistan to Turkey in 1949. He learned to speak Turkish. He had a dog named Whiskey that gave him a “lifelong love for dogs”. He often played sports in his youth. He left Turkey in 1956.
He returned to Pakistan in 1957. He attended Saint Patrick’s School in Karachi and Forman Christian College in Lahore.
Initial military career
In 1961, he entered the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul. He joined the Pakistan Army in 1964 and was placed in an artillery regiment.
Indo-Pakistani conflicts (1965-1971)
His first battlefield experience was with his artillery regiment in the intense fighting for Khemkaran sector in the Second Kashmir War. He also participated in the Lahore and Sialkot war zones during the conflict. During the war, Musharraf developed a reputation for sticking to his post under shellfire. He received the Imtiazi Sanad medal for gallantry.
Shortly after the end of the War of 1965, he joined the elite Special Service Group (SSG). He served in the SSG from 1966-1972. He was promoted to captain and to major during this period. During the War of 1971, he led an infantry division and a strikes corps. During the war, he also was a company commander of a commando battalion.
Various military posts (1972-1990)
Musharraf was a colonel in 1974 and a lieutenant colonel in 1978. As staff officer in the 1980s, he studied and taught at Command and Staff College and National Defense College. He did not play any significant role in Pakistan’s proxy war in the 1979-89 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1987, he became a brigade commander of a new division of the SSG near Siachen Glacier. In September 1987, he launched an assault at Bilafond La before being pushed back. In 1990, he studied at the Royal College of Defense Studies in Britain. While in the Army, he earned the nickname “Cowboy” for his westernized ways.
In 1991, he became major general and worked closely with the Army Chief of Staff as Director-General of Military Operations. Musharraf proposed a Kargil infiltration to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto but she rebuffed the plan. After the collapse of the fractious Afghan government, Musharraf 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.
His last military field posting was at the Mangla border region in 1995 as a lieutenant-general commander.
Army Chief of Staff
In October 1998, General Jehangir Karamat was forced to resign as Army Chief of Staff for advocating the creation of a National Security Council with an active military role. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif personally promoted Musharraf to replace Karamat.
The Pakistan Army originally conceived the Kargil plan after the Siachen conflict but the plan was rebuffed repeatedly by senior civilian and military officials. Musharraf was a leading strategist behind the Kargil Conflict. From March–May 1999, he ordered the secret infiltration of Kashmiri forces in the Kargil district. After India discovered the infiltration, a fierce Indian offensive nearly lead to a full-scale war. However, Sharif withdrew support of the insurgents in the border conflict in July because of heightened international pressure. Sharif’s decision antagonized the Pakistan Army and rumors of a possible coup began emerging soon afterward. Sharif and Musharraf dispute on who was responsible for the Kargil conflict and Pakistan’s withdrawal.
Military officials from Musharraf’s Joint Chief of Staff met with regional corps commanders three times in late September in anticipation of a possible coup. To quiet rumors of a fallout between Musharraf and Sharif, Sharif officially certified Musharraf’s remaining two years of his term on September 30.
Musharraf had left for a weekend trip to take part in Sri Lanka’s Army’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. After hearing news of his possible sacking, Musharraf rushed on Pakistan International Airlines flight from Colombo to Karachi on October 12. The military had already begun to mobilize troops towards Islamabad from nearby Rawalpindi. Sharif formally declared Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director Khwaja Ziauddin to replace Musharraf as Army Chief on national television at the Aiwan-e-Sadr presidential palace. The military placed Sharif under house arrest, but in a last ditch effort Sharif privately ordered Karachi air traffic controllers to redirect Musharraf’s flight to Nawabshah where Sharif’s own security team were ready to put Musharraf in custody. The plan failed after soldiers in Karachi surrounded the airport control tower. At 2:50 AM on October 13, Musharraf addressed the nation with a pre-recorded message.
Musharraf met with President Rafiq Tarar on October 13 to deliberate on legitimizing the coup. On October 15, Musharraf ended emerging hopes of a quick transition to democracy after he declared state of emergency, suspended the Constitution, and assumed power as Chief Executive. He also quickly purged the government of political enemies, notably Ziauddin and national airline chief Shaheed Kahkan Abbassi. On October 17, he gave his second national address and established a seven-member military-civilian council to govern the country. He named three retired military officers and a judge as provincial administrators on October 21.
There were no organized protests within the country to the coup. The coup was widely criticized by the international community. Consequently, Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations. Sharif was put under house arrest and later exiled to Saudi Arabia.
Musharraf’s first foreign visit was to Saudi Arabia on October 26 where he met with King Fahd. After meeting senior Saudi royals, the next day he went to Medina and performed Umrah in Mecca. On October 28, he went to United Arab Emirates before returning home.
In early November 1999, he released details of his assets to the public.
In March 2000, Musharraf banned political rallies.
Sharif trial and exile
The army held him under house arrest at a government guesthouse and opened his Lahore home to the public in late October 1999. Sharif was formally indicted in November on charges of hijacking, kidnapping, attempted murder, and treason for preventing Musharraf’s flight from landing at Karachi airport on the day of the coup. His trial began in early March 2000 in an anti-terrorism court, which are designed for speedy trials. He testified Musharraf began preparations of a coup after the Kargil conflict. His leading defense lawyer, Iqbal Raad, was shot dead in Karachi in mid-March. Sharif’s defense team blamed the military for intentionally providing their lawyers with inadequate protection. The court proceedings were widely accused of being a show trial. Sharif and his family were exiled to Saudi Arabia in December 2000.
Shortly after Musharraf’s takeover, he issued The Oath of Judges Order 2000, which required judges to take a fresh oath of office swearing allegiance to military. On 12 May 2000, the Supreme Court asked Musharraf to hold national elections by 12 October 2002. The residing President Rafiq Tarar remained in office until June 2001. Musharraf formally appointed himself President on 20 June 2001. In August 2002, he issued the Legal Framework Order, which added numerous amendments to the 1973 Constitution. In October 2002, Pakistan held elections which the pro-Musharraf PML-Q won wide margins. The PML-Q and MQM formed a coalition and legitimized Musharraf’s rule.
Musharraf allied with the United States against the Taliban government in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks. He claims in his 2006 memoirs he was given an ultimatum after military threats “to go back to the Stone Age” by U.S. President George W. Bush through Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Busha and Armitage denied it. Musharraf agreed to give the United States the use of three airbases for Operation Enduring Freedom. In return for his support on the War on Terror Musharraf was among the 194 candidates nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
A few months after September 11, Musharraf gave a speech against Islamic extremism. He instituted prohibitions on foreign students’ access to studying Islam within Pakistan, an effort which began as an outright ban but was later reduced to restrictions on obtaining visas. On 18 September 2005, Musharraf made a speech before a broad based audience of Jewish leadership, sponsored by the American Jewish Congress’s Council for World Jewry, in New York City. In the speech, he denounced terrorism and opened the door to relationships between Pakistan and Israel. He was widely criticized by Middle Eastern leaders, but was met with some praise among Jewish leadership.
Relations with India
After the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, Musharraf expressed his sympathies to Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and sent a plane load of relief supplies to India.
In the mid-2004, Musharraf began a series of talks with India to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
Relations with Saudi Arabia
In 2006, King Abdullah visited Pakistan for the first time as King. Musharraf honored King Abdullah with the Nishan-e-Pakistan. Musharraf received the King Abdul-Aziz Medallion in 2007.
As President, General Musharraf had promoted Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan as his Science Advisor. One of the most widely-reported controversies during Musharraf’s administration arose as a consequence of the disclosure of nuclear proliferation by Dr. Khan, a national hero known as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Musharraf has denied knowledge of or participation by Pakistan or the Pakistan Army. He has faced bitter domestic criticism for singularly attempting to vilify Khan. Khan has been pardoned in exchange for cooperation in the investigation, but was put under house arrest. After Musharraf’s resignation, Dr. Khan was finally released from house arrest by the executive order of Supreme Court of Pakistan.
When Musharraf came to power in 1999, he claimed that the corruption in the government bureaucracy would be cleaned up. According to a survey conducted by Transparency International Pakistan ranked in 2001 as the world’s 11th most corrupt nation. In 2007, Pakistan ranked as the 41st most corrupt nation.
In December 2003, Musharraf made a deal with Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a six-member coalition of Islamic parties, agreeing to leave the army by 31 December 2004. With that party’s support, pro-Musharraf legislators were able to muster the two-thirds supermajority required to pass the Seventeenth Amendment, which retroactively legalized Musharraf’s 1999 coup and many of his decrees. In late 2004, Musharraf went back on his agreement with the MMA and pro-Musharraf legislators in the Parliament passed a bill allowing Musharraf to keep both offices. Constitution Article 63 clause (1) paragraph (d), read with proviso to Article 41 clause (7) paragraph (b), allows the President to hold dual office.
On 1 January 2004, Musharraf had won a confidence vote in the Electoral College of Pakistan, consisting of both houses of Parliament and the four provincial assemblies. Musharraf received 658 out of 1170 votes, a 56% majority, but many opposition and Islamic members of parliament walked out to protest the vote. As a result of this vote, his term was extended to 2007.
Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali resigned on 26 June 2004, after losing the support of the PML(Q). His resignation was at least partially due to his public differences with the party chairman, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. This was rumored to have happened at Musharraf’s command. Jamali had been appointed with the support of Musharraf’s and the pro-Musharraf PML(Q). Most PML(Q) parliamentarians formerly belonged to the Pakistan Muslim League party led by Sharif, and most ministers of the cabinet were formerly senior members of other parties, joining the PML(Q) after the elections upon being offered positions. Musharraf nominated Shaukat Aziz, the minister for finance and a former employee of Citibank and head of Citibank Private Banking as the new prime minister.
The National Assembly voted in favor of the “Women’s Protection Bill” on 15 November 2006 and the Senate approved it on 23 November 2006. President General Pervez Musharraf signed into law the “Women’s Protection Bill”, on 1 December 2006. The bill places rape laws under the penal code and allegedly does away with harsh conditions that previously required victims to produce four male witnesses and exposed the victims to prosecution for adultery, if they were unable to prove the crime. However, the Women’s Protection bill has been criticized heavily by many for paying continued lip service and failing to address the actual problem by its roots: repealing the Hudood Ordinance. In this context, Musharraf has also been criticized by women and human rights activists for not following up his words by action. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that “The so-called Women’s Protection Bill is a farcical attempt at making Hudood Ordinances palatable” outlining the issues of the bill and the continued impact on women.
His government increased reserved seats for women in assemblies, to increase women’s representation and make their presence more effective. Compared with 1988 seats in the National Assembly were increased from 20 to 60. In provincial assemblies 128 seats were reserved for women. This situation has brought out increase participation of women for 1988 and 2008 elections.
In March 2005, a couple of months after the rape of a Pakistani physician, Dr. Shazia Khalid, working on a government gas plant in the remote Baluchistan province, Musharraf was criticized for pronouncing, Captain Hammad, a fellow military man and the accused in the case, innocent before the judicial inquiry was complete. Following the rape, riots erupted in the local Bugti clan of the province, where the rape took place. They saw a rape in their heartland as being a breach of their code of honour and attacked the gas plant. In an uncompromising response Musharraf sent tanks, helicopters and an extra 4,500 soldiers to guard the installation. If the tribesmen failed to stop shooting, he warned on television, “they will not know what hit them”. Shazia was later forced and threatened by the government to leave the country.
In an interview to the Washington Post in September 2005 Musharraf said that Pakistani women, who were the victims of rape, treated rape as a “moneymaking concern” and were only interested in the publicity in order to make money and get a Canadian visa. He subsequently denied making these comments, but the Washington Post made available an audio recording of the interview, in which Musharraf could be heard making the quoted remarks. Musharraf also denied Mukhtaran Mai, a Pakistani rape victim, the right to travel abroad, until pressured by US State Department. The remarks made by Musharraf sparked outrage and protests both internationally and in Pakistan by various groups i.e. women groups, activists. In a rally, held close to the presidential palace and Pakistan’s parliament, hundreds of women demonstrated in Pakistan demanding Musharraf apologize for the controversial remarks about female rape victims.
In 2000 Kamran Atif, an alleged member of Harkat-ul Mujahideen al-Alami, tried to assassinate Musharraf. Atif was sentenced to death in 2006 by an Anti Terrorism Court. On 14 December 2003, Musharraf survived an assassination attempt when a powerful bomb went off minutes after his highly-guarded convoy crossed a bridge in Rawalpindi. It was the third such attempt during his four-year rule. On 25 December 2003, two suicide bombers tried to assassinate Musharraf, but their car bombs failed to kill him; 16 others died instead. Musharraf escaped with only a cracked windscreen on his car. Amjad Farooqi was an alleged mastermind behind these attempts, and was killed by Pakistani forces in 2004 after an extensive manhunt.
On 6 July 2007, there was another attempted assassination, when an unknown group fired a 7.62 submachine gun at Musharraf’s plane as it took off from a runway in Rawalpindi. Security also recovered 2 anti-aircraft guns, from which no shots had been fired. On 17 July 2007, Pakistani police detained 39 people in relation to the attempted assassination of Musharraf. The suspects were detained at an undisclosed location by a joint team of Punjab Police, the Federal Investigation Agency and other Pakistani intelligence agencies.
On 8 October 2007, a military helicopter escorting President Musharraf, on his visit to the earthquake-affected areas on its second anniversary, crashed near Muzaffarabad, killing four people, including a brigadier. The Puma helicopter crashed at Majohi near Garhi Dupatta in Azad Kashmir at 11:15 am due to technical fault. Those killed included Brigadier Zahoor Ahmed, Naik Ajmal, Sepoy Rashid and PTV cameraman Muhammad Farooq, while President’s Media Advisor Maj Gen (R) Rashid Qureshi sustained injuries. Twelve people were on board the helicopter.