Former military ruler of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, passed away, aged 79

by Anadolu Agency

Pakistan’s former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf passed away after a protracted illness in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, family and local media reported. He was 79.

Musharraf, who ruled the South Asian nation from 1999 to 2008, was under treatment at American Hospital in Dubai and died early Sunday morning, his family confirmed.

He was suffering from amyloidosis – a rare disease that causes organ damage – and was unlikely to recover.

He left his widow, a son, and a daughter to mourn. His body will be brought to Pakistan for burial, local broadcaster Geo News reported, citing family sources.

He had long been bedridden and wheelchair-bound, with inexorable weight loss.

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, and Army Chief Gen. Asim Munir, in a statement, condoled the death of their predecessor.

On Oct. 12, 1999, four months after the Kargil war ended, Musharraf in a coup ousted and arrested then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif amid high drama.

A year earlier, Sharif had personally promoted him to the rank of the army chief, superseding two senior generals.

He ruled Pakistan till 2008. The eventful period led Pakistan to join the US-led war on terror in Afghanistan in 2001.

An avid art and culture lover, Musharraf introduced his “enlightened moderation” philosophy, following the US invasion of Afghanistan that triggered a wave of extremism and militancy in Pakistan.

Being an ally of Washington, Musharraf is also criticized for an increased US influence in Pakistan, particularly hundreds of drone strikes on the northwestern tribal belt near the Afghanistan border, which killed many civilians.

Although he was a military dictator, he, nonetheless introduced some key reforms, including reserved seats for women and minorities, and the introduction of a powerful local bodies system.

These reforms were retained by successive democratic governments.

He also allowed private TV channels to operate in the country.

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