|Pervez Musharraf (born on August 11, 1943) is a military figure, political and statesman of Pakistan. The General, President of Pakistan, came to power in 1999 as a result of a bloodless military coup d'etat.
Musharraf was born in Delhi into the family of a clerk working in the Ministry of External Affairs, and was the second of three sons. In 1947, he moved to Karachi (Pakistan) along with his family. Musharraf spent his childhood years in Turkey since his father served there as a diplomat. In Pakistan, he studied in Christian schools and then received military training in the Military Academy. Subsequently, Musharraf took part in two wars against India.
Military coup d'etat
In confrontation with Pervez Musharraf, Omar Sharif suspected that Musharraf had plans to seize power and decided to strike the first blow. On October 11, 1999, when Musharraf was returning back from a foreign trip, the Prime Minister Sharif dismissed the commander and issued orders not to allow the landing of Musharraf’s aircraft in Pakistan. The reaction of the military personnel appeared to be quick - armed forces came forward against the prime minister. Having learned about the decision of the prime minister, General Musharraf cut-short his visit to Sri Lanka and came back home. The airplane in which General Musharraf was traveling safely landed at Karachi airport, where he was met by a large group of like-minded people, and on October, 12, 1999 Musharraf headed the bloodless military coup d'etat against Sharif's government. Within several hours, the army divisions took the main governmental buildings, TV and airports in leading cities of the country under its control. The Prime Minister and General Ziauddin Butt, who was appointed the day before as a replacement for Musharraf, and also Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Mushahid Hussain, Minister for Information and Broadcasting were kept under house arrest. Soon, Musharraf took over the reins of Pakistan.
Musharraf was called the “Chief Executive”. An emergency was imposed in the country and military suspended the functioning of the constitution and legislative organs and central and regional governments were dismissed. After the coup, a new federal body – the National Safety Council was constituted. The National Safety Council was formed to assist the Chief Executive (from 2001 – President) in issues relating to Islamic ideology, national safety and other important issues pertaining to national policies.
The new military ruler promised to put an end to corruption and on the international front, resume talks with India on the Kashmir issue and with Afghanistan on terrorism. The supreme court of Pakistan ordered Musharraf to hold elections by October 2002 and bring democratic governance into the country.
On June 20, 2001, Pervez Musharraf took the oath as President of Pakistan replacing Rafiq Tarar and after obtaining the consent for taking the oath of the president from Irshad Hasan Khan, Chief Justice of Supreme court. Thus, musharraf kept the posts of chief executive and chief of the Army Staff to himself. In October 2002, Musharraf promised to conduct new parliamentary elections so as to address the parliament with a request to choose him as president for a five year term. The declaration of Musharraf as president of Pakistan lead to protests from Benazir Bhutto, leader of Pakistan People’s Party, accusing the General for violation of the constitution. In 2004, Shaukat Aziz was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Struggle for re-election
On October 6, 2007, the presidential elections were conducted and General Musharraf, the existing head of state, won the elections. The Supreme Court however, refused to acknowledge the legality of his election till he resigns from army service.
On August 18, 2008, Pervez Musharraf voluntarily retired from the post of President of Pakistan since the impeachment procedure was under threat, which was appointed for this day. The stand of Western countries and the USA, which refused to lend support and stand by Pakistan’s army, which refused to undertake any measures to protect the President if his impeachment is announced, lead to the resignation of Pervez Musharraf under the guarantee of his own safety.
Musharraf takes great interest in sports and in leisure time plays squash, badminton and golf. He goes rows a canoe, loves water sports and card games. One of the hobbies of Musharraf is military history. As it was informed in print, his favorite film is“Gladiator”, which is about an ancient Roman commander, fighting against a vicious emperor. In 2006, participating in a television program on channel Geo Television during the fourth anniversary of this private television channel, Musharraf, answering questions by children, admitted that he is a bad cook: “I only know how French toast is made. I taught my wife how to make that”.