Pervez Musharraf (born August 10, 1943) is the President of Pakistan, the Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army and the fourth Pakistani General to govern the country in the wake of a coup. He took power on October 12, 1999, ousting Nawaz Sharif, the elected Prime Minister, thereby assuming the title of Chief Executive. Later on, he became the President of Pakistan.
Pervez Musharraf is the second of three sons. He was born in Nahr wali Haveli Daryaganj in Delhi, British India on August 11, 1943 - After the Partition of India, Musharraf along with his parents immigrated to Pakistan and chose to settle in Karachi.
He comes from a lower middle class family; his father, Syed Musharrafuddin, worked for the foreign ministry as a clerk in the Pakistan Embassy in Turkey. He spent his early years in Ankara ,Turkey, from 1949 to 1956 and speaks fluent Turkish. Musharraf is married to Begum Sehba, who is from Okara; they have one son, Bilal Musharraf who is a graduate student at Stanford University and is responsible for investing the billions of dollars for his family, and a daughter Ayla Raza who works as an architect in Karachi, and have four grandchildren, two from each child.
Musharraf attended Saint Patrick's High School, Karachi, graduating in 1958 before going on to attend Forman Christian College in Lahore. For seven years his family lived in Turkey as his father got a job in Ankara. He reveals in his memoirs that he was in a critical condition after falling from a mango tree as a teenager, and he treats this as his first direct experience with death.
In 1961, he entered the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul, graduated 11th in his class and was commissioned in 1964 in the Artillery Regiment (16(SP) Self Propelled artillery unit now based in Bahawalpur,PK). Later he joined Special Services Group and then was posted to Field Artillery Regiments. A graduate of the 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. In 1965, Musharraf reveals in his memoirs that he was charged with taking unauthorized leave and was about to be court-martialed for it, but was let off due to the war with India.
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, where a major offensive was planned against the Indian Army. Despite possessing a quantitative advantage and significant superiority in armor, the 1st armoured division (labelled "pride of the Pakistan Army") suffered a crushing defeat and Khemkaran became known as a graveyard of Pakistan 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 seriously threatened by the Indian Army. Later on it was sent to take part in the major battles around Chawinda.
Later, in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 he served as a Company Commander in the 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, there after an Artillery Brigade and then went on to command an Infantry Division. In September 1987, heading a newly formed SSG at Khapalu base (Kashmir), he launched an unsuccessful assault to capture the Indian held posts of Bilafond La in Siachen Glacier.
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 General and took over as the Chief of Army Staff.
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 12 October 1999. That day, the constitutional Prime Minister Nawaz 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 with allegedly only a few minutes of fuel to spare, and Musharraf assumed control of the government. Sharif was put under house arrest and later exiled. He and other leaders have subsequently been prevented from entering Pakistan. Reportedly, the disagreement between Musharraf and Sharif centered 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.
When Musharraf came to power, he claimed that the rampant corruption in the government bureaucracy would be cleaned up.. However, although Musharraf stated that a crackdown on corruption would be initiated, many neutral analysts have noted that, even years into his administration, his regime is letting the corrupt go free.
The Lal Masjid issue had put President Musharraf in a tough spot. Codenamed 'Operation Silence' killed many Islamic scholars in the Lal Masjid including Abdur Rashid Ghazi. Musharraf is known as the dictator of Pakistan with the military powers.
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