Pervez Musharraf, Former Pakistani President, Dies at 79

  • In Business
  • 2023-02-05 17:09:40Z
  • By National Review

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former military ruler, died Sunday in Dubai at the age of 79 after a long illness.

The Pakistan military issued a statement sending "heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of General Pervez Musharraf. . . .May Allah bless the departed soul and give strength to bereaved family."

Musharraf was the leader of nuclear-armed Pakistan for nearly a decade after taking power in a military coup in October 1999, when he overthrew elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf resigned in 2008 and left the country. He returned in 2013 but was arrested on treason charges and barred for life from running for office. He fled Pakistan in 2016 and lived in exile with a rare disease, amyloidosis. He was sentenced to death in 2019 in absentia, though the ruling was later overturned by the country's High Court.

During his time in power, he vowed to support the U.S. campaign against al-Qaeda in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

Joint U.S.-Pakistani operations resulted in the arrest of dozens of top al-Qaeda leaders. The U.S. gave Pakistan with aid worth more than $1 billion a year during Musharraf's time in power. Musharraf's cooperation with the U.S. during its "war on terror" lead to criticism from some in Pakistan; he was critically dubbed "Busharraf" for his relationship with the Bush administration.

Yet American officials also grew frustrated with Musharraf over his refusal to address terrorist groups that maintained bases and training camps in Pakistan's tribal areas.

In 2011, U.S. Navy SEALs killed Bin Laden after locating the al-Qaeda leader in a safe house just several hundred yards from Pakistan's top military academy. U.S. officials said he had been living there for five years, though Musharraf denied that he knew bin Laden was hiding there.

Musharraf was born in New Delhi, India, in 1943. He was the son of a diplomat and later fled to Pakistan and joined the army at 18.

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