Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistan president, lifeless at seventy nine after years in exile

Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who seized vitality in a cold coup and later led a reluctant Pakistan into aiding the U.S. battle in Afghanistan in opposition to the identical Taliban fighters his nation murkily backed at the same time as Islamic militants twice focused him for assassination, has died, an official said Sunday. He was seventy nine.

Musharraf, a former particular forces commando, grew to become president by the final of a string of navy coups that roiled Pakistan since its founding amid the bloody 1947 partition of India. He dominated the nuclear-armed state after his 1999 coup by tensions with India, an atomic proliferation scandal and an Islamic extremist insurgency. He stepped down in 2008 whereas going by doable impeachment.

Later in life, Musharraf lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai to maintain away from authorized fees, regardless of making an try a political comeback in 2012. however it wasn’t to be as his poor well being plagued his final years. He maintained a soldier’s fatalism after avoiding a violent loss of life that on a daily basis appeared to be stalking him.

“i’ve confronted loss of life and defied it a quantity of instances up to now as a consequence of future and destiny have on a daily basis smiled on me,” Musharraf as quickly as wrote. “I solely pray that i’ve greater than the proverbial 9 lives of a cat.”

Drawn in by Sept. eleven

Musharraf’s household introduced in June 2022 that he had been hospitalized for weeks whereas affected by amyloidosis, an incurable situation that sees proteins construct up inside the physique’s organs.

“Going by a troublesome stage the place restoration isn’t doable and organs are malfunctioning,” the household said. They later said he additionally needed entry to the drug daratumumab, which is used to deal with a quantity of myeloma. That bone marrow most cancers could set off amyloidosis.

Shazia Siraj, a spokesperson for the Pakistani Consulate in Dubai, confirmed his loss of life and said diplomats have been offering assist to his household.

A man sits behind about 20 microphones. Two flags and a large painting are behind him.
Musharraf speaks in 2007 at President dwelling in Islamabad, Pakistan. (John Moore/Getty photos)

Pakistan, a nation almost twice the scale of California alongside the Arabian Sea, is now dwelling to 220 million of us. however it can in all probability be its border with Afghanistan which might quickly draw the U.S.’s consideration and dominate Musharraf’s life considerably under two years after he seized vitality.

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden launched the Sept. eleven, 2001, assaults from Afghanistan, sheltered by the nation’s Taliban rulers. Musharraf knew what would come subsequent.

“America was constructive to react violently, like a wounded bear,” he wrote in his autobiography. “If the perpetrator turned out to be al-Qaeda, then that wounded bear would come charging straight in direction of us.”

‘With us or in opposition to us’

By Sept. 12, then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell informed Musharraf that Pakistan would both be “with us or in opposition to us.” Musharraf said one other American official threatened to bomb Pakistan “again into the Stone Age” if it chosen the latter.

Musharraf chosen the earlier. A month later, he stood by then-President George W. Bush on the Waldorf Astoria in the prolonged island to declare Pakistan’s unwavering assist to battle with america in opposition to “terrorism in all its varieties wherever it exists.”

Pakistan grew to become an important transit level for NATO gives headed to landlocked Afghanistan. That was the case although Pakistan’s extremely effective Inter-companies Intelligence agency (ISI) had backed the Taliban after it swept into vitality in Afghanistan in 1994. earlier to that, the CIA and others funnelled money and arms by the ISI to Islamic fighters battling the Nineteen Eighties Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

The U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan noticed Taliban fighters flee over the border again into Pakistan, collectively with bin Laden, whom the U.S. would kill in 2011 at a compound in Abbottabad. They regrouped and the offshoot Pakistani Taliban emerged, starting a years-prolonged insurgency inside the mountainous border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The CIA started flying armed Predator drones from Pakistan with Musharraf’s blessing, using an airstrip constructed by the founding president of the United Arab Emirates for falconing in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. this method helped beat again the militants however noticed over 4 hundred strikes in Pakistan alone kill at the least 2,366 of us — collectively with 245 civilians, in line with the Washington-based mostly New America basis assume-tank.

although Pakistan under Musharraf launched these operations, the militants nonetheless thrived as billions of yank dollars flowed into the nation. That led to suspicion that additionally plagues the U.S. relationship with Pakistan.

U.S.-Pakistan: a loveless marriage

“After Sept. eleven, then President Musharraf made a strategic shift to desert the Taliban and assist the U.S. inside the battle on terror, however neither facet believes the completely different has lived as a lot as expectations flowing from that decision,” a 2009 U.S. cable from then-Ambassador Anne Patterson revealed by WikiLeaks said, describing what had discover your self to be the diplomatic equal of a loveless marriage.

“the connection is definitely one of co-dependency we grudgingly admit — Pakistan is aware of the U.S. can’t afford to stroll away; the U.S. is aware of Pakistan can’t survive with out our assist.”

however it can in all probability be Musharraf’s life on the avenue. Militants tried to assassinate Musharraf twice in 2003 by concentrating on his convoy, first with a bomb planted on a bridge after which with car bombs. That second assault noticed Musharraf’s car lifted into the air by the blast earlier than touching the underside as quickly as extra. It raced to safety on simply its rims, Musharraf pulling a Glock pistol in case he needed to battle his method out.

A man stands in black dress clothes with a Pakistan flag pin. Behind him a man salutes.
Musharraf, proper, stands after taking the oath as a civilian president on the presidential palace in Islamabad in 2007. (Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty photos)

It wasn’t till his spouse, Sehba, noticed the car lined in gore that the scale of the assault dawned on him.

“She is on a daily basis calm inside the face of hazard,” he recounted. however then, “she was screaming uncontrollably, hysterically.”

Fled westward

Born Aug. eleven, 1943, in New Delhi, India, Musharraf was the center son of a diplomat. His household joined tens of millions of completely different Muslims in fleeing westward when predominantly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan break up all by independence from Britain in 1947. The partition noticed tons of of 1000’s of of us killed in riots and stopping.

Musharraf entered the Pakistani navy at age 18 and made his profession there as Islamabad fought three wars in opposition to India. He’d launch his personal try at seizing territory inside the disputed Himalayan area of Kashmir in 1999 simply earlier than seizing vitality from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif had ordered Musharraf’s dismissal as a consequence of the navy chief flew dwelling from a go to to Sri Lanka and denied his plane touchdown rights in Pakistan, at the same time as a consequence of it ran low on gasoline. On the underside, the navy seized administration and after he landed Musharraf took cost.

but as ruler, Musharraf almost reached a take care of India on Kashmir, in line with U.S. diplomats on the time. He additionally labored in direction of a rapprochement with Pakistan’s longtime rival.

one other principal scandal emerged under his rule when the world found that famed Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, prolonged associated to the nation’s atomic bomb, had been promoting centrifuge designs and completely different secrets and techniques to international places collectively with Iran, Libya and North Korea, making tens of tens of millions of dollars. these designs helped Pyongyang to arm itself with a nuclear weapon, whereas centrifuges from Khan’s designs nonetheless spin in Iran amid the collapse of Tehran’s nuclear take care of world powers.

Musharraf said he suspected Khan however it wasn’t till 2003 when then-CIA director George Tenet confirmed him detailed plans for a Pakistani centrifuge that the scientist had been promoting that he realized the severity of what occurred.

Khan would confess on state tv in 2004 and Musharraf would pardon him, although he’d be confined to deal with arrest after that.

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