Ex-Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf passes away in Dubai following years in exile

Outgoing President Pervez Musharraf is surrounded by top military officers as he leaves the Presidential House in Islamabad, Pakistan on August 18, 2008 [Photo: Emilio Morenatti/File/AP)

Ex-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf died Sunday in a Dubai hospital after a protracted illness and years in self-imposed exile.

Pakistan's military and embassy in the United Arab Emirates reported the death of the 79-year-old former army leader who was ousted in 2008.

Shazia Siraj, a spokesperson for Pakistan's consulate in Dubai and embassy in Abu Dhabi, told Reuters, "I can confirm that he passed away this morning,"

On his passing, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, President Arif Alvi, and the commanders of Pakistan's army, navy, and air force extended their condolences.

According to local television station Geo News, Monday's flight to Dubai will transport Musharraf's body back to Pakistan for burial.

The former four-star commander, who seized power through a bloodless revolution in 1999, led fast economic growth and strove to introduce socially liberal values to the conservative Muslim nation.

Musharraf's most significant threat was al-Qaeda and other militant Islamists, who attempted to murder him at least three times.

His heavy-handed use of the military to suppress opposition and his ongoing support of the United States in its war against al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban led to his final downfall.

"He is called a military dictator, but there has never been a stronger democratic system than that under him," said Fawad Chaudhry, the party leader of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In a video message, Chaudhry stated, "He gave Pakistan free media, and he stressed the diversity of opinion in Pakistan,"

"History will never forget him," he remarked. Pervez Musharraf, you will be missed.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Musharraf joined what Washington termed its "war on terror" Pakistan gave ground and air access to Afghanistan so that U.S. forces could pursue the al Qaeda members identified as the plotters.

This support was opposed to Pakistan's historical policy of supporting the Taliban, who governed neighbouring Afghanistan at the time and continue to do so now. This made Musharraf a target for Pakistani extremists and caused him to lose popularity among Pakistani conservatives.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group of Pakistani terrorist organizations created in response to Musharraf's assault on extremist elements, hailed his death while criticizing his pro-Western stance.

The statement read, "This was the infamous army chief who sold off the country's honour and respect," The group, which has launched a flurry of new attacks across Pakistan in recent days, issued a warning to the present military administration against adopting Musharraf's policies.

Musharraf was permitted to travel overseas for medical treatment despite facing a treason charge in Pakistan; they last travelled to Dubai in 2016.

Publish : 2023-02-05 16:10:00

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