- Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf is dead. He was 79 years old.
- He died in a hospital in Dubai after a long illness, the Pakistani authorities confirmed to news agencies.
- The ex-general ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 after his coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
A good 23 years ago, Musharraf took power after a military coup. At that time he was Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army. In 2001 he officially became President of Pakistan. He resigned seven years later. This after he had come under increasing pressure domestically because of his dictatorial leadership style and his rapprochement with the United States.
US ally after 9/11
Musharraf became known to the world public primarily after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the USA. Al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden orchestrated the attacks from Pakistan’s neighbor Afghanistan, where he was hosted by the ruling Taliban.
In his memoirs, Musharraf wrote in retrospect: ‘It was clear that the US would react like a wounded bear. Should al-Qaeda prove to be an attacker, this wounded bear would charge straight at us.”
The day after the attacks, then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell told Islamabad: “You are either for us or against us.” A month later, US President George W. Bush declared that Pakistan was a close US ally in the fight against terrorism.
Sentenced to death in absentia
The ex-general ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 after his coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He has been living in the United Arab Emirates since 2016 after being allowed to leave Pakistan for medical reasons. In 2019 he was sentenced to death in absentia for high treason.
However, in 2020 his conviction was overturned. Generals have ruled Pakistan for almost half of its existence since it gained independence in 1947.