South Asia

Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf dies

Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has died in Dubai aged 79 after a long illness, the Pakistani army announced Sunday.

According to a brief statement issued by the military’s media wing, ISPR, Pakistan’s army said senior military chiefs “express heartfelt condolences on sad demise of General Pervez Musharraf”.

The four-star general died in hospital in Dubai on Sunday morning, where he had been living in exile.

“I can confirm that the late general breathed his last in Dubai this morning … He is no more,” the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Musharraf seized power in 1999 in a bloodless coup after the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif tried to dismiss him as army chief, having appointed him above more senior officers a year earlier. After seizing control he swiftly aligned with Washington during its military intervention in neighboring Afghanistan.

Musharraf served as the president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008. He ruled the country under the backdrop of the 9/11 attacks on the US but won a five-year term as president in a 2002 referendum, but reneged on promises to quit as army chief until late 2007.

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

In 2016 a travel ban was lifted and Musharraf traveled to Dubai to seek medical treatment.

In 2014, Musharraf was indicted for suspending the Constitution on November 3, 2007. The ex-military strongman was awarded the death sentence in absentia in a high treason case by a special court in December 2019.