It came to power just a few months before the 9/11 attacks and became Bush’s arm in the so-called “war on terror.”
On the day in 2016 that he boarded a flight to the United Arab Emirates for “health reasons”, Pervez Musharraf vowed to return to Pakistan, his “beloved homeland”. The former general and former president of Pakistan between 2001 and 2008 will not be able to keep his word because he died at the age of 79 in a Dubai hospital victim of amyloidosis. “Dictator” to his detractors, “savior” to his loyalists, the 9/11 attacks came just months after he staged a coup and seized power in Islamabad.
From the outset, he sided with the United States and the “war on terror” launched by George Bush. Pakistan became a key ally, allowing the opening of US air bases in the country and sending its troops to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban along the border.
Musharraf took over Pakistan after leading an uprising against then-president Nawaz Sharif and a year later he won a referendum that helped him cling to power that he did not relinquish until 2008. His political decline began with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and was always accompanied by the suspicion of not having provided the necessary security to the former prime minister, who was also her great political rival.
The growing internal jihadist threat in 2007 led him to order the Constitution and declare a state of emergency citing reasons of “national security” and stated that “it would be suicide for the country not to do so.” This move allowed him to completely reform the Supreme Court and appoint a new chief justice in his opponent’s place, Iftikhar Chaudhry.
The effect of the state of emergency lasted barely a year because he was forced to resign under pressure from the streets, the courts and opposition political forces. After a five-year self-exile between London and Dubai, he returned in 2013 with the aim of participating in the presidential elections at the head of a party that he baptized as the All-Pakistan Muslim League, but the pending cases with the Justice forced him to back down. in his plans and locked himself in his mansion in the capital until he headed for Dubai.
According to the Geo channel, his body will return to the “beloved homeland” where he will say goodbye. The Army expressed its “sincere condolences” through a statement and so did the Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif. Among the reactions to the death there was also that of the Pakistani Taliban, the same ones that last week murdered more than 100 police officers in a Peshawar mosque, who celebrated the death of whom they called “the murderer of thousands of Muslims and former leader of the pakistan mercenary army.
Musharraf aspired to be remembered as a hero for his complicity with Bush, but analysts such as Mosharraf Zaidi, founder of the Islamabad-based strategic think tank Tadablab, believe that “this country continues to suffer from terrorism emanating from the way it was carried out.” the ‘War on Terror’ in this country. Musharraf became the favorite of the United States and we continue to pay for it », according to what he declared in a wide intervention on the Al Jazeera channel.
“It is forgotten, for both, the moment he left the uniform it ceased to be relevant,” says Ana Ballesteros, an associate researcher at Cidob, who recalls that Musharraf went from “leading a war lost in advance” (Kargil 1999), right after the nuclear tests, to side with the US in the war on terror and end up being targeted himself; to restore democracy (in spite of him) and get away unsuccessfully from the assassination of the winning candidate… Better to forget his legacy ». Fawad Chaudhry, a former close aide to Musharraf and leader of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party, however, takes a different view. “He is called a military dictator, but there has never been a stronger democratic system than under his rule,” he assured in a video message in which he noted that “he gave Pakistan a free media and emphasized the diversity of opinions. History will always remember him.”
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