Mr. Pervez Musharraf, the former Chief of Army Staff and former President of Pakistan, has lived a life facing several ups and downs, from being the most popular leader of the country to being the most disliked. Mr. Musharraf was born in Delhi on 11th August 1943 in a middle class family. After the partition of India his family decided to migrate to Pakistan and settle in Karachi. He acquired education from Saint Patricks High School and later went to FC College Lahore to pursue further studies.
He became part of the military academy in 1961 and fought for Pakistan in the Indo-Pak war of 1965 as a valiant young officer. After the war he was awarded with Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Tamgha-e-Basalat and Imtiaz-e-Sanadi for portraying bravery throughout the war. He got married in 1968 and has two children. The second major war in which he took part was the Indo-Pak war of 1971 in which he played the role of a Company Commander in the Commando Battalion.
The life of Mr. Musharraf entered an entirely new phase in 1998 when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him Chief of Army Staff. He was severely condemned both nationally and internationally for the infiltration of Kargil which broke down all peace talks between India and Pakistan. He did not have a very sound relation with the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and after months of controversial relationship with him he finally overthrew Nawaz Sharif to come into power as a military dictator. Nawaz Sharif was taken under house arrest and was later sent to Adiala Jail.
The most important event of Mr. Musharraf’s era as the leader of the country was to join U.S in the “War on Terror” after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. His action of forming an alliance with the U.S faced resentment from various factions of the country. In order to legalize his rule he arranged for a referendum in 2002 after which he was elected as the President of Pakistan for a period of five years. Mr. Musharraf gained popularity for reviving the country’s economy and for being the first president to accept Supreme Court rulings and organizing free and fair elections for the first time in the country.
The last two years of Musharraf’s period as the country’s ruler were marred by numerous controversies which hampered his reputation that he had developed after years of hard work being head of the State. Amongst these controversies the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry and his action to cordon off Lal Masjid faced severe retaliation from the general public and played a significant role in removing him from power. After resigning from the Presidency he went into self exile in London.
In February 2011 an arrest warrant was issued in his name for his alleged role in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He has formed his own political party named “All Pakistan Muslim League” and has said that he would return to the country soon and would take part in the next elections.