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Pervez Musharraf

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Pervez Musharraf
پرويز مشرف
Pervez Musharraf

12th President of Pakistan
Incumbent
Assumed office 
20 June 2001
Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Shaukat Aziz
Muhammad Mian Soomro
Yousaf Raza Gillani
Preceded by Muhammad Rafiq Tarar

21st Prime Minister of Pakistan
In office
12 October 1999 –  20 June 2001
President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Preceded by Nawaz Sharif
Succeeded by Zafarullah Khan Jamali

Born 11 August 1943 (1943-08-11)
Delhi, British India
Political party Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
Religion Islam

Pervez Musharraf (Urdu: پرويز مشرف) ( IPA: /ˈpəɹ.vɛz muˈʃɑɹ.əf/) NI, HI (born August 11, 1943) is the current 12th President of Pakistan. Previously, he was 21st Prime Minister of Pakistan as well as former Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army.

He came to power in 1999 by effecting a military coup d'état and has suspended the constitution of Pakistan twice; since then, after announcing his intention to combat extremists, Western countries (including the United States and the United Kingdom) have switched from sanctions to active support through military and monetary aid. He took power on October 12, 1999, ousting Nawaz Sharif, the elected Prime Minister, dismissed the national and provincial legislative assemblies, assumed the title of Chief Executive and became Pakistan's de facto head of government, thereby becoming the fourth Army chief of Pakistan to have assumed executive control. Later in 2001, Musharraf appointed himself to the office of President of Pakistan.

On November 3, 2007, only days before a bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan was to decide on a petition challenging the constitutional validity of his re-election as president in the controversial October 2007 elections, he, as Chief of Army Staff, suspended the constitution, jailed several justices and lawyers of the supreme court including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, ordered the arrest of political dissidents and human rights activists, and shut down all private television channels. On November 3, 2007, Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan which lasted until December 15, 2007. During this time, the constitution of the country was suspended.

On November 24, 2007, the Pakistan Election Commission confirmed his re-election as President.

Early life

Pervez Musharraf was born on August 11, 1943 in Nahr wali Haveli, situated in Kacha Saad Ullah Mohallah, Daryaganj in Delhi, British India. He is from a family of civil servants. After Musharraf's grandfather, Qazi Mohtashimuddin, retired as the commissioner of undivided Punjab he bought Neharwali Haveli in the old walled city of Delhi where Musharraf was born. The haveli, with its high roofs and arches, is believed to have been the home of a " Wazir" (Minister) in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar — the last Mughal emperor of the 18th century. After partition, Musharraf's family migrated to Pakistan where his father, Syed Musharraf Uddin — a graduate of Aligarh University — joined the Pakistan foreign service and later retired as Secretary of foreign affairs. Musharraf's mother, Zarin, received her master's degree from the University of Lucknow in 1944. She recently retired from the UNO agency in ISB.

He revealed in his memoirs that he was critically injured after falling from a mango tree as a teenager, and he considers this his first direct experience with death.

Musharraf attended Saint Patrick's School, Karachi, graduating in 1958, later attending Forman Christian College in Lahore. He also participated in a certificate course for media management from Delhi university.He is said to have been good in mathematics during his student days.

Musharraf is married to Sehba, who is from Okara. They have a son, Bilal, who was a graduate student at Stanford University and currently works in the Silicon Valley, and a daughter, Ayla Raza, who works as an architect in Karachi.

Military career

Pervez Musharraf

General Musharraf
Service/branch Pakistan Army ( PA – 6920)
Years of service 1964 - 2007
Rank General
Commands held DGMO (Military Operations)
I Corps ( Mangla)
Chief of Army Staff
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Siachen conflict
Kargil War
Awards Tamgha-e-Basalat
Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)

In 1961, he entered the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul, graduating 11th in his class. He was commissioned in 1964 in the Artillery Regiment. Later he joined the Special Services Group and was posted to Field Artillery Regiments. A graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and the National Defence College, Rawalpindi, Musharraf is also a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies of the United Kingdom. Musharraf revealed in his memoirs that in 1965 he was charged with taking unauthorized leave and was about to be court-martialed for it, but was excused due to the war with India.

Indo-Pakistani wars

Musharraf participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 as the 2nd Lieutenant in the 16 (SP) Field Artillery Regiment. His regiment saw action as part of the First Armoured Division’s offensive in the Khemkaran sector, as part of a major offensive against the Indian Army, the Pakistani army advanced 15 miles into India and it was in the town of Khem Karan that Musharraf wrote his first letter to his mother during the war "proudly saying that I was writing from India". However despite the initial success and possessing a quantitative advantage and significant superiority in armour, the 1st armoured division (labelled "pride of the Pakistan Army") suffered a "crushing defeat" at Khemkaran, which became known as "Patton Nagar" or graveyard of Pakistani tanks. By all accounts the vital advance failed at the Battle of Asal Uttar, as Pakistan lost a golden opportunity to make major strategic gains, and was a turning point in the war.. His regiment was later moved to the Lahore front which was threatened by the Indian Army, according to Musharraf "Having stabilized the Lahore front, we were ordered to move again to the Sialkot front. This was where the famous tank battles of Chawinda were fought. At the end of the war this sector was to become a graveyard of Indian tanks.". During the war Musharraf was noted for sticking to his post under shellfire, towards the end of the war an Indian shell hit one of the artillery guns of Musharraf's unit and set it on fire, according to Musharraf whilst everyone else took cover, he followed by another soldier "dashed to the blazing gun" and removed the "hot shells" one by one and "threw them to safety on the ground" - for this he received an award for gallantry and was promoted to the rank of captain.

Later, in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 he served as a Company Commander in the Special Service Group (SSG) Commando Battalion. Originally scheduled to be flown to East Pakistan along with other SSG troops, he was redeployed in Punjab as war broke out and all flights over India were cancelled. He later admitted that he "broke down and wept" when he heard the "disgusting" news of Pakistan's unconditional surrender to India. Later he commanded Regiments of Artillery, an Artillery Brigade and then an Infantry Division. In September 1987, he was instrumental in giving orders to a newly formed SSG at Khapalu base (Kashmir), which launched an assault and successfully captured two intermediate posts, Bilafond La in Siachen Glacier, before being pushed back.

On promotion to the rank of Major General on January 15, 1991, he was assigned the command of an Infantry Division. Later, on promotion to Lieutenant General on October 21, 1995 he took over command of 1 Corps, the elite strike Corps. In 1998, following the resignation of General Jehangir Karamat, he was personally promoted over other senior officers by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as an obedient officer and took over as the Army Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Role in Kargil Conflict

From May to July 1999, Pakistan and India were involved in the Kargil Conflict, an armed conflict between the two countries in the Kargil district of Kashmir. It was planned and executed during General Musharraf's term as the Pakistani Army Chief of Staff under Prime Minister Sharif.

Sharif has claimed that Musharraf was solely responsible for the Kargil attacks. On the other hand, Musharraf claims that the decision was made by Sharif, who was under United States pressure. Ex- CENTCOM Commander Anthony Zinni, and Sharif, have stated that Musharraf requested that the Prime Minister withdraw Pakistani troops from Kashmir.

Musharraf's role in planning the Kargil attacks was criticized by one British journalist for showing "a shocking lack of strategy."

Casualties on both sides had been particularly heavy in Kargil. Musharraf had good relations with Jehangir Karamat from whom he took over the command. Soon after the coup, one of the first to be appointed as minister was journalist Maleeha Lodhi who was close to Jehangir Karamat. Also recruited was Shaukat Aziz (who served as the country's Prime Minister later) who volunteered to improve the economy. Western banks rescheduled Pakistani loans, which had been subjected to economic sanctions since Pakistan conducted atomic testing.

Pervez Musharraf resigned from the Army on 28 November 2007 in an attempt to regularise his position as President.

Presidency

Military coup d'état

Musharraf became de facto Head of Government (using the title Chief Executive and assuming extensive powers) of Pakistan following a bloodless coup d'état on October 12, 1999. That day, Sharif attempted to dismiss Musharraf and install Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director Khwaja Ziauddin in his place. Musharraf, who was out of the country, boarded a commercial airliner to return to Pakistan. Senior army generals refused to accept Musharraf's dismissal, which was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Sharif ordered the Karachi airport closed to prevent the landing of the airliner, which then circled the skies over Karachi. In the coup, the Generals ousted Sharif's administration and took over the airport. The plane landed, allegedly with only a few minutes of fuel to spare, and Musharraf assumed control of the government. Sharif was put under house arrest and later exiled, where he resided until he returned again to Pakistan on November 25, 2007.

He and other leaders have subsequently been prevented from entering Pakistan. Reportedly, the disagreement between Musharraf and Sharif centred around the Prime Minister's desire to find a diplomatic resolution to the conflict with India in the Kashmir region.

The existing President of Pakistan, Rafiq Tarar, remained in office until June 2001. Musharraf formally appointed himself President on June 20, 2001, just days before his scheduled visit to Agra for talks with India.

Domestic issues

2002 elections

Shortly after Musharraf's takeover, several people filed court petitions challenging his assumption of power. However, he got The Oath of Judges Order 2000 issued. It required the judges to take a fresh oath of office swearing allegiance to military rule and to state they would make no decisions against the military. Many judges refused and resigned in protest. On May 12, 2000, the Supreme Court ordered Musharraf to hold national elections by October 12, 2002; elections for local governments took place in 2001.

In an attempt to legitimize his presidency and assure its continuance after the approaching restoration of democracy, he held a referendum on April 30, 2002 to extend his term to five years after the October elections. However, the referendum was boycotted by the majority of Pakistani political groupings, which later complained that the vote was heavily rigged, and voter turnout was 30 percent or below by most estimates. A few weeks later, Musharraf went on TV and apologized to the nation for "irregularities" in the referendum.

General elections were held in October 2002 and a plurality of the seats in the Parliament was won by the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q), a pro-Musharraf party. It formed a majority coalition with independents and allies such as the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM). However, parties opposed to Musharraf effectively paralysed the National Assembly for over a year. The following month, Musharraf handed over certain powers to the newly elected Parliament. The National Assembly elected Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as Prime Minister, who in turn appointed his own cabinet.

In December 2003, Musharraf made a deal with Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a six-member coalition of Islamic parties, agreeing to leave the army by December 31, 2004. With that party's support, pro-Musharraf legislators were able to muster the two-thirds supermajority required to pass the Seventeenth Amendment, which retroactively legalized Musharraf's 1999 coup and many of his decrees. In late 2004, Musharraf went back on his agreement with the MMA and pro-Musharraf legislators in the Parliament passed a bill allowing Musharraf to keep both offices.

Denunciation of extremism

On January 12, 2002, Musharraf gave a landmark speech against Islamic extremism. He unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism and pledged to combat Islamic extremism and lawlessness within Pakistan itself.

At the same time as banning foreign funding of Islamic educational institutions, he made it compulsory for them to teach a whole host of additional subjects such as computing. This meant that many had to close due to the halt of funds from Pakistanis working abroad resulting in not being able to teach the additional subjects that he had made compulsory. Musharraf also instituted prohibitions on foreign students' access to studying Islam within Pakistan, an effort which began as an outright ban but was later reduced to restrictions on obtaining visas.

On September 17, 2005, Musharraf made a historic speech before a broad based audience of Jewish leadership, sponsored by the American Jewish Congress's Council for World Jewry, in New York City. In the speech, he denounced terrorism and opened the door to relationships between Pakistan and Israel, as well as between the Muslim world and Jews worldwide. He was widely criticized by Middle Eastern Arab leaders and Muslim clerics, but was met with some praise among Jewish leadership.

On September 13, 2007, 300 Pakistani troops were captured by Islamic militants. Terrorists then bombed Musharraf's own SSG unit, killing 16, and launched rocket attacks in the North-West Frontier province and Tribal areas.

Assassination attempts

On December 14, 2003, Musharraf survived an assassination attempt when a powerful bomb went off minutes after his highly-guarded convoy crossed a bridge in Rawalpindi. It was the third such attempt during his four-year rule. On December 25, 2003, two suicide bombers tried to assassinate Musharraf, but their car bombs failed to kill him; 16 others nearby died instead. Musharraf escaped with only a cracked windscreen on his car. Militant Amjad Farooqi was apparently suspected of being the mastermind behind these attempts, and was killed by Pakistani forces in 2004 after an extensive manhunt.

On July 6, 2007, there was another attempted assassination, when an unknown group fired a 7.62 submachine gun at Musharraf's plane as it took off from a runway in Rawalpindi. Security also recovered 2 anti-aircraft guns, from which no shots had been fired. On July 17, 2007, Pakistani police detained 39 people in relation to the attempted assassination of Musharraf. They were detained at an undisclosed location by a joint team of Punjab Police, the Federal Investigation Agency and other Pakistani intelligence agencies.

2004 confidence vote and resignation of Jamali

On January 1, 2004 Musharraf won a confidence vote in the Electoral College of Pakistan, consisting of both houses of Parliament and the four provincial assemblies. Musharraf received 658 out of 1170 votes, a 56 percent majority, but many opposition and Islamic members of parliament walked out to protest the vote. As a result of this vote, according to Article 41(8) of the Constitution of Pakistan, Musharraf was "deemed to be elected" to the office of President. His term now extends to 2007.

Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali resigned on June 26, 2004, after losing the support of the PML(Q). His resignation was at least partly due to his public differences with the party chairman Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and was rumoured to have happened at Musharraf's command, although neither man has confirmed this. Jamali had been appointed with the support of Musharraf's and the pro-Musharraf PML(Q). Most PML(Q) parliamentarians formerly belonged to the Pakistan Muslim League party led by Sharif, and most ministers of the cabinet were formerly senior members of other parties, joining the PML(Q) after the elections upon being offered powerful offices. It is believed that Musharraf replaced Jamali due to his poor performance and in his place Musharraf nominated Shaukat Aziz, the minister for finance and a former employee of Citibank and head of Citibank Private Banking as the new prime minister.

Economy

After nuclear tests were carried out in 1998, during the Sharif government, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization imposed economic sanctions on Pakistan. When Musharraf came to power in the coup d'etat the following year Pakistan was expelled from the Commonwealth. This initially compounded the economic problems, and many experts claimed Pakistan was a failed state, as it was close to bankruptcy and investor confidence was at an all-time low. After Musharraf promised support in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, international sanctions were lifted.

Musharraf then appointed Shaukat Aziz, a former Citibank executive, as finance minister. World powers weighed in for debt rescheduling to reward Pakistan due to the "war on terrorism", which helped in saving hundreds millions of dollars, in addition to securing new loans. As a result, foreign exchange reserves increased exceeding $16 billion in 2006, but at the same time foreign debt hit an all time high topping $40 billion. The government claims that the economy has grown in several sectors and that per capita income of Pakistan has more than doubled in the last seven years.

Poverty alleviation

Upon assuming power, Musharraf made promises to alleviate poverty, according to the President of Pakistan's website.

The overall macro-economic indicators from 1999 – 2004 have seen vast improvement with fiscal deficit, expenditures, and foreign debts having been reduced; and earnings, foreign exchange reserves, exports and revenue collection having increased.

Despite producing what reports call "a bumper crop of 23.5 million tons" of wheat, the country suffered the worst shortages of wheat in the summer of 2007, with the prices of flour rising by more than 20 percent.

Corruption issues

When Musharraf came to power, he claimed that the corruption in the government bureaucracy would be cleaned up. However, as many analysts have noted, his regime has done little to quash corruption, even years into his administration.

According to a survey by Transparency International, Pakistani public opinion perceived the first and second terms of Musharraf's administration as respectively more corrupt than the first and second terms of previous administrations led by Bhutto and Sharif, respectively. However, that survey also indicates that public opinion perceived the second terms of all three leaders as being more corrupt than their first terms, respectively. And, furthermore, any one of those leader's second terms was perceived as being more corrupt than any of those leaders first terms. In fact, Bhutto's second term was perceived as being the second most corrupt according to those sampled by the survey. Musharraf's second term was perceived as being the most corrupt term of office among the those of the three leaders.

According to a combined poll by Dawn News, Indian Express and CNN-IBN, a majority believe that corruption during this administration has increased. An Asian Development Bank report on the state of the country during the 60th year of Independence describes it as a country with "poor governance, endemic corruption and social indicators that are among the worst in Asia".

There have also been allegations that corrupt servicemen aren't being prosecuted because of the junta's clout. Pakistani media too have alleged that individual corruption of the previous government was replaced by institutionalised corruption of the Pakistan Army, awarding land deeds and a life of luxury to its officers.

Later in 2007, his government cost national exchequer hundreds of millions of rupees to hire teams of expensive lawyers to represent his government in courts. In one such case regarding the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation, whose worth was stated to be Rupees 600 billion, and which was sold out for mere Rupees 20.6 billions, the government had spent Rupees 90 million ( £900.000), with Sharifuddin Pirzada alone getting away with 6.6 million rupees (£66,000).

Suspension and reinstatement of the Chief Justice

On March 9, 2007, Musharraf suspended the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. In an interview about the matter given to Geo TV, Musharraf stated that Chaudhry himself wished to meet with him and Musharraf then presented him with evidence related to charges made against Chaudhry for abuse of office. Other sources maintain that Chaudhry was summoned by the General at his Army residence in Rawalpindi and asked to explain his position on a list of charges brought against him from several quarters. Chaudhry was demanded to resign, but he refused and was detained. While this was not confirmed by the Affidavit presented by him in Supreme Court, While affidavits by other people in same case has said that it was not true and he (Chief Justice) has asked to meet the President and was not asked to resign. Meanwhile, another senior judge, Justice Javaid Iqbal, was appointed as the acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Musharraf's moves sparked protests among Pakistani lawyers. On March 12, 2007, lawyers across Pakistan began boycotting all court procedures in protest against the suspension. In Islamabad, as well as other cities such as Lahore, Karachi and Quetta, hundreds of lawyers dressed in black suits attended rallies, condemning the suspension as unconstitutional. Slowly the expressions of support for the ousted Chief Justice gathered momentum and by May, protesters and opposition parties took out huge rallies against Musharraf and his tenure as army chief was also challenged in the courts. Rallies held by the MQM and other political parties left more than 40 people dead in firefights in the streets of Karachi, and the offices of AAJ TV were caught in the crossfire and sustained damage. Opposition parties have accused the government and Rangers of not doing enough to stop the violence.

On July 20, the Supreme Court reinstated Chaudhry. It also dismissed misconduct charges that Musharraf filed against him.

Lal Masjid siege

The standoff between the Pakistani government and the clerics of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad finally broke down on the morning of July 8, 2007, when the official government delegation led by Shujaat Hussain declared that the negotiations with the militants holed up in the mosque have reached an agreement. However the clerics refused to release the hostages as promised by them in the agreement. Musharraf therefore gave the militants half an hour to abide by the agreement or face the operation.

In addition to militants, there were several hundred students held hostages, many of who were minor girls, whom were being used as human shields.

After the negotiations failed the troops were given the go ahead to storm the complex, which they did. Codenamed " Operation Silence", the objective was to capture or kill the militants if they resisted - as well as rescuing all the students kept as hostages. Musharraf had been criticised for some for his inaction against the Lal Masjid.

August state of emergency rumours

On August 8, 2007 a rumour spread across Pakistan that a State of emergency was going to be enforced across the country. The rumour was picked up by the electronic media. Government Ministers confirmed that the option of enforcing emergency was being considered due to “internal and external threats” that the country was facing. Prompted by the news reports, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a 17-minute telephone call to Musharraf. A senior western diplomat noted that it is likely that Rice persuaded Musharraf to not impose such an emergency. On August 9, 2007, Musharraf confirmed that he would not be imposing emergency in Pakistan. This was followed by a clarification from U.S. President George W. Bush that the imposition of emergency in Pakistan was not a reality. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, President of Pakistan Muslim League (PML) admitted that he had suggested the imposition of “partial emergency” in the country. He also said that the government is still considering the imposition of emergency. However, the Karachi Stock Exchange fell after the rumour spread that the government is imposing emergency in Pakistan. The Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index fell 382.61, or 2.8 percent, to close at 13,181.94, the largest fluctuation among markets included in global benchmarks.

Relations with Benazir Bhutto

Also on August 8, Benazir Bhutto spoke about her secret meeting with Musharraf on July 27, in an interview on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

On September 14, 2007, Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim stated that Bhutto won't be deported, but must face corruption suits against her. He clarified Sharif's and Bhutto's right to return to Pakistan: "Nawaz Sharif's case was different. He went back to Saudi Arabia because of an undertaking he had with the Saudi government; She (Bhutto) was always allowed to come back." Pakistan People's Party Farhatullah Babar said that Benazir Bhutto will forthwith declare the exact date of her return: "We are announcing the date of the return for Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan at 5:00 p.m. (1200 GMT)" (Makhdoom Amin Fahim will publish it at a news conference in Islamabad." Musharraf faced a rising militant violence, with a suicide bombing killing 15 elite commandos on September 13. Bhutto declared her return from eight years exile on October 18. Makhdoom Amin Faheem, vice chair of Pakistan Peoples Party said that "Benazir Bhutto will be landing in Karachi on October 18."

On September 17, 2007, Bhutto accused Musharraf 's allies of pushing Pakistan to crisis by refusal to restore democracy and share power. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated that officials had agreed to grant Benazir Bhutto amnesty in pending corruption charges.

Musharraf called for a three day mourning period after Bhutto's assassination on December 27, 2007

Resignation from the Army

On October 2, 2007, Musharraf named Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani as vice chief of the army starting October 8. When Musharraf resigned from military on 28 November 2007, Kayani became Chief of Army Staff.

Return of Nawaz Sharif

Sharif returned to Pakistan in September 2007, and was immediately arrested and taken into custody at the airport. Sharif initially refused to hand over his passport to immigration officials on the plane. Finally, the plane carrying Sharif left Pakistan for Saudi Arabia. "He has been sent back," a senior security official told AFP, as local television showed a Pakistan International Airlines airplane carried deported Sharif from Islamabad airport.

Sharif returned to Jeddah, where he was met by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Miqren bin Abdul Aziz. Pakistan's Religious Affairs Minister Ijaz-ul Haq stated that "He has not only embarrassed Pakistan but also the leadership of Saudi Arabia by violating the agreement." The European Union asked the Pakistani government to respect the court ruling, while the U.S. government said that the deportation was an "internal matter" but said that elections should be "free and fair". Human Rights Watch accused Musharraf of violating international law, and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party condemned the deportation by filing a contempt suit in the Supreme Court.

2007 elections

In an interview in March 2007, Musharraf said that he intends to stay in the office for another five years.

A nine-member panel of Supreme Court judges deliberated on six petitions (including Jamaat-e-Islami's, Pakistan's largest Islamic group) for disqualification of Musharraf as presidential candidate. Bhutto stated that her party may join other opposition groups, including Sharif's. Attorney-general Malik Mohammed Qayyum stated that, pendente lite, the Election Commission was "reluctant" to announce the schedule for the presidential vote. Bhutto's party Farhatullah Babar stated that the Constitution could bar Musharraf from being elected again because he holds the army chief's post. "As Gen. Musharraf is disqualified from contesting for President, he has prevailed upon the Election Commission to arbitrarily and illegally tamper with the Constitution of Pakistan."

On September 24, 2007, the president of the Supreme Court bar association, Munir Malik, announced that former Supreme Court judge Wajihuddin Ahmed would challenge Musharraf in Pakistan's October presidential election. Ahmad had little chance of defeating Musharraf (since the president is elected by parliament and provincial assemblies). Also, 24 persons were detained due to protest outside the court in Islamabad. On September 28, 2007, in a 6-3 vote, the court presided by Judge Rana Bhagwandas ruled: "These petitions are held to be non-maintainable." The judgment removed obstacles to Musharraf's election bid.

On October 2, 2007, 85 Pakistani opposition lawmakers resigned from the country's parliament to derail Musharraf's reelection bid. National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain stated that the resignations would not affect the presidential election. Under Pakistani law, the national parliament and provincial assemblies choose the president. The current parliament is expected to elect a president before October 15, with the new five-year term starting on November 15.

On October 6, 2007, Musharraf won a vote to be re-elected Pakistan's president. However, the Supreme Court ruled that no winner would be proclaimed until it decides on the legality issue.

Emergency declared in Pakistan

On November 3, 2007 Musharraf declared emergency rule across Pakistan. He suspended the Constitution, imposed State of Emergency, and fired the chief justice of the Supreme Court. While addressing the nation on State Television, Musharraf declared that the state of emergency was imposed in the country to safeguard the national interests and counter growing terrorism and the downward trend of economy. In Islamabad, troops entered the Supreme Court building, arrested the judges and kept them under detention in their homes. Troops have been deployed inside state-run TV and radio stations, while independent channels have gone off air. Land and mobile telephone lines are down in Islamabad. The court was to decide whether Musharraf was eligible to run for election last month while remaining army chief.

Pakistani general election, 2008

On March 23, 2008, President Musharraf said an "era of democracy" has begun in Pakistan. He has put the country "on the track of development and progress." On March 22, the Pakistan Peoples Party named former parliament speaker Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani as its candidate for the country's next prime minister, to lead a coalition government united against him. A confirmation vote is scheduled for March 24, 2008 in parliament, and the prime minister would be sworn in by Musharraf March 25, 2008. Gilani will likely face an opposition candidate from Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League (Q). However, that nomination is largely symbolic because Musharraf and his allies lack a majority in parliament. Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who came in second in the elections, pledged that their coalition will tackle the massive challenges facing Pakistan, including a wave of Islamic militancy, high inflation and electricity shortages. Zardari and Sharif were ousted in Musharraf's 1999 Pakistani coup d'état. A confrontation still looms between Musharraf and Sharif, who has been one of the most vocal in calling for the unpopular president's resignation or impeachment.

Foreign policy

Support for the War on Terrorism
President Musharraf with President Bush
President Musharraf with President Bush

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Musharraf sided with the United States against the Taliban government in Afghanistan after an ultimatum by U.S. President George W. Bush. Musharraf agreed to give the United States the use of three airbases for Operation Enduring Freedom. Secretary of State Colin Powell and other administration officials met with Musharraf. On September 19, 2001, Musharraf addressed the people of Pakistan and stated that, while he opposed military tactics against the Taliban, Pakistan risked being endangered by an alliance of India and the U.S. if it did not cooperate. In 2006, Musharraf testified that this stance was pressured by threats from the U.S., and revealed in his memoirs that he had "war-gamed" the United States as an adversary and decided that it would end in Pakistan losing such a conflict, especially since archrival India would also join in such an attack.

Relations with India

Musharraf was Chief of Army Staff at the time of Mujahideen incursions into India from Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the summer of 1999. Although Pakistan claimed that these were Kashmiri freedom fighters based in Indian-controlled Kashmir, later developments showed that they were Pakistani paramilitary soldiers backing up the separatists on the mountain top. After fierce fighting, Pakistani soldiers were pulled back due to pressure from the international community.

However, in Battle Ready, a book co-authored by ex- CENTCOM Commander in Chief Anthony Zinni and novelist Tom Clancy, the former alleges that Musharraf was the one who pushed Sharif to withdraw the Pakistani troops after being caught in a losing scenario. According to an ex-official of the Musharraf government, Hassan Abbas, Musharraf planned the whole operation and sold the idea to Sharif. The view that Musharraf wanted to attempt the Kargil infiltrations much earlier was also revealed by Bhutto in an interview with a leading daily newspaper, where he had supposedly boasted that "he would hoist the flag of Pakistan atop the Srinagar Assembly" if his plan was executed. Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML(N)), a leading Pakistan party added that Musharraf had planned the Kargil intrusions but panicked when the conflict broke out with India and decided to alert Sharif. Since the Kargil incident occurred just after the Lahore Peace Summit earlier that year, Musharraf is often regarded with scepticism in India.

In the middle of 2004, Musharraf began a series of talks with India to solve the Kashmir dispute. Both leaders also discussed the following issues: Wullar Barrage and Kishangaga power project, Baglihar Dam on the Chenab River being built by India in Jammu and Kashmir, disputed Sir Creek estuary at the mouth of the Rann of Kutch, Siachin glacier, issues of Gurdaspur and Ferozepur's status, Hindu-Muslim relations, autonomy for the Sikhs in Indian Punjab, minority rights, Indian contentions that Pakistan is sponsoring "cross-border" terrorism.

In 2007, Musharraf stated, after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that the current push to normalize relations between the two states is "irreversible."

Government financing of Al Qaeda

On July 22, 2004, The Guardian reported that Omar Sheikh, a British-born Islamist, had, on the instructions of General Mahmoud Ahmad, the then head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), wired $100,000 before the 9/11 attacks to Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker. When Ahmed was exposed by the Wall Street Journal as having sent the money to the hijackers, Musharraf forced him to retire. The 9/11 commission did not investigate this funding out of lack of credibility.

In September 2007, in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid incident, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden urged his followers to fight a holy war against Musharraf and the Pakistani army.

Richard Armitage comments

During a September 24, 2006 interview with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes, Musharraf said that then- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had called Musharraf's intelligence director shortly following the 9/11 attacks and threatened military action if Pakistan did not support the U.S.-led "war on terror". According to Musharraf, Armitage warned: "Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age." Furthermore, during an interview with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show on September 26, 2006, Musharraf stated that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell also contacted him with a similar message: "You are with us or against us." Musharraf refused to elaborate further, citing the then-upcoming release of his book, In the Line of Fire: A Memoir ( ISBN 0-7432-8344-9). Armitage has, however, categorically denied that the U.S. used such harsh words to threaten Pakistan, whereas President Bush has refrained from publicly acknowledging the possibility of the exact wordings being used.

Nuclear proliferation

One of the most widely-reported controversies during Musharraf's administration arose as a consequence of the disclosure of nuclear proliferation by Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the metallurgist known as the father of Pakistan's bomb. Musharraf has denied knowledge of or participation by Pakistan's government or army in this proliferation and has faced bitter domestic criticism for singularly vilifying Khan, a former national hero. Khan has been pardoned in exchange for cooperation in the investigation, but is still under house arrest.

European visit

On January 21, 2008, Musharraf started his 8-day visit to Europe, to meet EU leaders regarding democracy and terror. As charm offensive, he will arrive in Brussels, then proceed to UK, France and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He will meet EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Nato secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and will address the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament. Musharraf is further set to meet Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown, Condoleezza Rice, Hamid Karzai, and Nuri al-Maliki, in Davos.

Approval ratings

By August 2007 Musharraf had become increasingly unpopular in Pakistan with his ambitions for another term as president. An International Republican Institute survey showed that 64 percent of the population did not want another term to be granted to Musharraf as the president of Pakistan. The Economist reported that the country was in a mess even by the nation's own standards. Journalist Ayaz Amir stated that Musharraf was “the author of his own misfortune”. The article stated that unlike "other dictators", Musharraf has an easy exit that should be heeded to.

Musharraf admitted that his popularity was on a decline. Dawn, a leading newspaper, conducted a survey showed that about 54.5 percent of urban Pakistanis believe that military should have no role in politics while 65.2 percent want Musharraf to step down. The Economist also stated that the General was destabilizing Pakistan by imposing ‎emergency. The paper also suggested that it was time that the general exit government ‎and allow the democratic process to be completed. ‎‎‎

However, more recent surveys shows that Musharraf's popularity has further decreased. A survey conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow shows that Osama Bin Laden is more popular in Pakistan than Musharraf. According to poll results, Bin Laden has a 46 percent approval rating.

In an effort to boost his falling popularity ratings in an election year, Musharraf will be a regular guest star on a state-sponsored Q&A show titled From the President's House. The show will be aired weekly on PTV and partly or wholly on some private channels.

State of Emergency 2007

On November 3, 2007, Musharraf declared a State of emergency in Pakistan to postpone the ongoing case of his re-election, of which impact is most likely to decline his already low popularity even further. By suspending the constitution and sacking many judges including former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and welcomed the returns of fomer Pakistani Prime Minsters Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif on December 15, 2007 Musharraf ended the state of emergency restoring the country's constitution, the move has been welcomed by Pakistan's western allies United States and the UK which have providing Pakistan with money to put into its industry and economy. The move came just in time for the January 8 elections featuring Ms Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party and Mr Sharif's PML(N) and Mr Musharraf's party. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the move was a significant step towards the return of full constitutional order and said that January's elections must be free, fair and transparent. However, following the December 27 assassination of Bhutto, this temporary stability has been severely jeopardized.

Legacy

Musharraf characterizes himself as a moderate leader with liberal, progressive ideas, and has expressed admiration for Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic.

His government maintains that Pakistan is prospering due to his economic and social reforms. Statements issued by the government suggest significant improvement in the economy. Some, however, are cautious about any optimism, since the steep rise in GDP is attributed to rebasing done in 2004. External debt, on the other hand, has for the first time hit $40 billion mark.

Following the media coverage of the riots in Karachi on May 12, 2007, Musharraf attempted to curb that freedom by decree. The measure backfired with a severe backlash, and was eventually withdrawn. In order to counter rapidly growing anger among the masses against his policies, state owned television PTV has decided to air weekly shows involving him to bolster his approval ratings. The recent closing of independent news and radio channels after imposing a state of emergency on the country by the President, expresses another example on the lack of freedom of the press. However, it was under his rule that media rights were relaxed and prosperity of digitial media came about. His government also allowed a huge influx of television and radio channels to start up.

On September 29, 2007, state troops baton charged journalists who had gathered on Constitutional Avenue to report a story. 34 journalists were severely injured.

Musharraf has expressed admiration for the right-wing General Rahimuddin Khan, the authoritarian martial law administrator of Balochistan throughout the 1980s. He was severely criticized by human rights organizations following his comments in response to the rape of Mukhtar Mai. On September 23, 2005, during a tape-recorded interview, Musharraf had suggested that rape was becoming a "moneymaking concern" in Pakistan.

Books

  • Pervez Musharraf, In the Line of Fire: A Memoir (2006)

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