Pervez Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf (born August 11, 1943 in Delhi, India) is currently the President of Pakistan and the Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistani military. He took power on October 12, 1999 after a coup d'état and assumed the title of President of Pakistan on June 20, 2001. In the TIME 100 Poll 2006 of "The People Who Shape Our World" he is currently ranked at number thirteen.

General Pervez Musharraf, the second of three brothers, was born in Daryaganj in Delhi, India on August 11, 1943. His parents chose to settle in Karachi after the creation of Pakistan. He comes from a middle class family, his father having worked for the foreign ministry. He spent his early years in Turkey, from 1949 to 1956, owing to his father, the late Syed Musharrafu-ud-din’s deputation in Ankara.

General Musharraf is married to Begum Sehba Musharraf and has one son, Bilal Musharraf, and a daughter, Ayla. Both are married with two children of their own.
United States President George W. Bush and President Musharraf answer reporters in the East Room of the White House in late 2006.

Musharraf attended Saint Patrick's High School, Karachi, graduating in 1958 before going on to attend Forman Christian College in Lahore.

In 1961, he entered the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul and was later commissioned into the Pakistan Artillery. A graduate of the Staff College, Quetta, and the National Defense College, Rawalpindi, General Musharraf also a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies of the United Kingdom.

Musharraf participated in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 as the 2nd Lieutenant in the Field Artillery Regiment and later in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 as a Company Commander in the SSG Commando Battalion. He later admitted that he "literally wept" when he heard the "disgusting" news of Pakistan's 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 the I 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 In 1999, he led the Pakistan Army during the Kargil Conflict. Gen Musharaf also attended SSG and was also the trainer of Pakistani commandos.

From April to June 1999, Pakistan and India were involved in the Kargil Conflict in which Musharraf was Pakistan's Army chief. This conflict resulted in eventual mistrust between civil and military leaderships and this division ultimately saw the demise of Sharif's government.

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, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attempted to dismiss Musharraf and install 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. Sharif ordered the Karachi airport 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 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 democratic leaders have subsequently been prevented from entering Pakistan. The existing President of Pakistan, Rafiq Tarar, remained in office until June 2001. Musharraf formally made himself President on June 20, 2001, just days before his scheduled visit to Agra for talks with India.

Reportedly, the disagreement between Musharraf and Sharif centered around the democratically elected Prime Minister's desire to find a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.

Shortly after Musharraf's takeover, several people filed court petitions challenging his assumption of power. On May 12, 2000, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered Musharraf to hold general elections by October 12, 2002. 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 presidential 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 elections were heavily rigged, and voter turnout was 3% or below by most estimates. A few weeks later, Musharraf went on TV and apologized to the nation for "irregularities" in the referendum.

Musharraf also forcibly removed many of the Supreme Court Justices who had voted against his usurpation of power. These included Justice Taqi Usmani, a world authority on International financial law and Constitutional law. Newspaper editors who were critical of Musharraf, such as the editor of the Balochistan Post, have also been exiled.

General elections were held in October 2002 and a plurality of the seats in the Parliament was won by the PML-Q, a pro-Musharraf party consisting of feudal landlords whose power and hold on politics Musharraf had promised to destroy. However, parties opposed to Musharraf effectively paralysed the National Assembly for over a year. The deadlock ended in December 2003, when Musharraf made a deal with the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal party, an alliance of Islamic parties sympathetic to Talibans agreeing to leave the army by December 31, 2004. He subsequently refused to keep his promise. 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 a vote of confidence on January 1, 2004, Musharraf won 658 out of 1,170 votes in the Electoral College of Pakistan, and according to Article 41(8) of the Constitution of Pakistan, was "deemed to be elected" to the office of President until October 2007.

Most international experts considered the election of the electoral college to be fraudulent.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, Musharraf sided with the United States against the Taliban government in Afghanistan, after an ultimatum by the United States. 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. Musharraf's reversal of policy and help to the U.S. military was necessary in the U.S. bombing that rapidly overcame the Taliban regime. On September 19, 2001, Musharraf addressed the people of Pakistan and stated while he supported the Taliban, unless Pakistan reversed its support, Pakistan risked being endangered by an alliance of India and the USA. In 2006, Musharraf testified that this stance was pressured by threats from the U.S.

On December 13, 2001, a group of militants attacked India's Parliament with bombs and guns. India, blaming Pakistan for the attack, mobilized for a potential war. Musharraf denied any Pakistani involvement with the attacks.

Intense pressure from Washington followed. The Washington Post (Jim Hoagland, January 17) said that "the United States extracted promises from Gen. Musharraf that Pakistan's intelligence service and army will cease giving food, weapons and other logistical help to infiltrators who carry out raids into India and Indian-controlled Kashmir. The army will no longer provide mortar fire to cover the militants, who have been cut adrift by Musharraf".

On January 12, 2002, Musharraf gave a landmark speech against Islamic extremism. He unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism, including those carried out in the name of freeing Kashmir's Muslim majority from Indian rule. He also pledged to combat Islamic extremism and lawlessness within Pakistan itself. He has since repeatedly denounced the Islamic ruling system, the Khilafah.

Musharraf has used the excuse of fighting extremism to ban peaceful opposition such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir. He has also used it to ban funding of Madrasas and Mosques from outside the country. 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. Restrictions were placed on foreigners being allowed to study Islam within Pakistan, which started as an outright ban, but has been relaxed since, to restrictions on obtaining visas.

During a September 24, interview with CBS News's 60 Minutes program, Musharraf described how then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had allegedly called Musharraf's intelligence director shortly following the September 11, 2001 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." Musharraf has not elaborated further owing to the upcoming release of his book, In the Line of Fire: A Memoir. Meanwhile, both Armitage and President Bush have denied making such a threat.

A pro-Musharraf party, the PML-Q, won a plurality in the elections of October 2002, and formed a majority coalition with independents and allies such as the MQM. Nevertheless, the opposition parties effectively deadlocked the National Assembly, refusing to accept the legitimacy of Musharraf's authority. In December 2003, as part of a compromise with the main Islamist opposition group, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an alliance of Islamist radicals including the Jammat Islami whose leaders have known links to bin Laden, General Musharraf said he would step down as Army Chief by January 1, 2005. In return, the MMA agreed to support a constitutional amendment that would retroactively legalize Musharraf's coup, and restore some formal checks and balances to Pakistan's system of government.

In late 2004, Musharraf ordered pro-Musharraf legislators to pass a bill allowing Musharraf to keep both offices.

Musharraf is considered a moderate leader by Western governments. Many believe that Musharraf is sincere in his desire to bridge the Islamic and Western worlds and has previously spoken strongly against the idea of the inevitability of a 'clash of civilisations' between them. Furthermore, he has coined the phrase of "Enlightened moderation" and is believed to be an ardent promulgator of the same. Musharraf's emotional ties to the United States may be conjectured to be significant since at least two close members of his family live there: his brother, a doctor, lives near Chicago, Illinois, and his son, who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Musharraf's son, Bilal runs a venture funded high-tech startup in Boston. Musharraf's only other child, a daughter, is a graduate of the National College of Arts in Lahore and is an architect. Musharraf's elder brother, Javed Musharraf, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, was a CSP officer in the Government of Pakistan prior to retiring from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, Italy.

Musharraf is also considered as a disputed personality holding powers as Army Chief and President because of the reason that he was dismissed and given retirement by the Prime Minister, and because of the most disputed referendum held under his power, which was reported to have cast maximum of 3% votes in his favour.

Musharraf was raised in a family that is considered Unislamic by Pakistani standards. The women of the family are unsequestered and seen and photographed in public without Hijab. His mother worked for the ILO and was friends with well-known Pakistani liberals. His daughter is an architect and his son was educated at Harvard University.

Shortly after coming to power, and on numerous occasions afterwards, Musharraf expressed admiration for the secularist reformer of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk who abolished the Khilafah, outraging religious citizens in the country. However in Parliament he was in alliance with the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal an Islamic alliance, some of whose leaders still publicly support the Taliban regime. Additionally, Musharraf has expressed admiration for the long-time 1980s Martial Law dictator of Balochistan, General Rahimuddin Khan, whose reign witnessed controversy over his conservative, authoritarian style of government, as well as unprecedented stability and economic expansion.

Musharraf is known to openly drink alcohol and boasts about his love of whisky. He also keeps dogs, which Muslims regard as unclean.

At the same time, the conduct and procedure of national elections in Pakistan has been criticised by Human Rights groups within Pakistan, including the world renowned human rights activist, Asma Jehangir.

Since his involvement as a senior officer of Pakistan's special forces during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Musharraf has had excellent personal relations with several sections of the US security establishment.

It is widely believed that Musharraf was coerced by the United States into turning his back on his former allies, the Taliban government of Afghanistan. Certainly his speeches on national television expressed his belief that he 'had no choice' but to act in unison with the United States.

Musharraf's support for the USA was indispensable in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan with the ease that it was routed. This was done after his swift and strategically sound decision to cease Pakistan's long-running support of the Taliban. Pakistan cut the Taliban's oil and supply lines, provided intelligence and acted as a logistics support area for Operation Enduring Freedom. It has also allowed US forces to operate inside Pakistan, and Pakistani forces especially the military controlled Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate have been implicated in the use of torture on suspected militants.

Under U.S. pressure, Musharraf has launched a major military offensive in the tribal region of Wana, displacing many resident families in the hunt for militants, and has caused a national insurgency movement made up of disaffected militants and former residents of Wana whose homes were demolished by the army in its heavy bombing campaign.

However, after the more recent resurgence of the Taliban, the United States is taking a harder look at Pakistan's continuing role in the Taliban insurgency, according to reports in the New York Times Seth G. Jones, a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, said that there was increasing evidence that Pakistani intelligence agents had been financing, training, providing intelligence and assistance to Taliban insurgents. Whether the orders come from General Musharraf himself is not clear, Mr. Jones said, but he said it was clear that he knew about the support, and that he so far had failed to stop the militancy.

Musharraf speaks fluent English and has given many interviews and speeches on various US and European TV channels and other media. He is also known for giving contrasting views in his interviews. He has spoken at think tanks such as the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, in June 2003. His support for the US-led War on Terror has been a cause for increasing public support for right-wing Islamic parties in Pakistan. The US's image in Pakistan has suffered ostensibly after the war in Iraq without an authorising UN resolution. Musharraf has bluntly refused to send any Pakistani troops to Iraq without a UN resolution and also due to public pressure in Pakistan.

After lengthy talks with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, he said on September 7, 2006 he was committed to crushing the Taliban, their al Qaeda allies and "Talibanisation", a reference to the spread of hardline Islam. "The best way to fight this common enemy is to join hands, trust each other and form a common strategy," he told reporters in Kabul, days before the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks that prompted the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. "Any militant activity will be addressed with force. No Talibanisation. No Taliban activity on our side of the border and across the border in Afghanistan," Musharraf said. The issue of cross-border movement clouded President George W. Bush's visit to Islamabad early 2006 and Musharraf's pledge comes ahead of a trip to the United States and Cuba and an expected meeting with Bush.

On December 14, 2003, General 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. Eleven days later, on December 25, 2003, two suicide bombers tried to assassinate Musharraf, but their car bombs failed to kill the president; 16 others nearby died instead. Musharraf escaped with only a cracked windscreen on his car. It has been reported that Amjad Hussain Farooqi is suspected of being the mastermind behind these attempts, and there was an extensive manhunt for him, ending with Farooqi's death.

On 12 May 2000, the Supreme Court ordered Musharraf to hold national elections by 12 October 2002; elections for local governments took place in 2001. Elections for the national and provincial legislatures were held in October 2002, with no party winning a majority. In November 2002, Musharraf handed over certain powers to the newly elected Parliament. The National Assembly elected Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as Prime Minister of Pakistan, who in turn appointed his own cabinet.

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 which are dominated by the landed elite of the country, most of whom have been given governmental posts under Musharraf. Musharraf received 658 out of 1170 votes, a 56% 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 Jamali resigned on 26 June 2004. His resignation is widely believed to be on the command of General Pervez Musharraf. Jamali, in the first place was appointed by Musharraf, who controls the PML(Q). He formed PML(Q) by horsetrading with different parties (largely the PML(N) and the PPPP). Most of the ministers of the cabinet were senior members of other parties, who joined PML(Q) after the elections just because Musharraf promised them important offices in the government. Musharraf replaced Jamali due to his poor performance and in his place Musharraf appointed Shaukat Aziz, a former Vice President of Citibank and head of Citibank Private Banking as the new prime minister. Musharraf choose Shaukat Aziz due to his successful measures in revitalizing Pakistan's economy as the Finance Minister. The new government is mostly supportive of Musharraf, who remains the President and Head of State in the new government. Musharraf continues to be the active executive of Pakistan, especially in foreign affairs. Although whether he stays the president after he gives up the post of Chief of Army staff is still to be seen.

Recently, Musharraf has come under fire in the West after 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 despite deep domestic criticism for singularly vilifying Khan, a national hero. Musharraf continues to enjoy strong support of the White House and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. AQ Khan has been pardoned in exchange for cooperation in the investigation of his nuclear-proliferation network. The fate of those who were found to have conspired with Khan is yet to be decided.

Musharraf was Chief of Army Staff at the time of Pakistani incursions into the Indian-held Kashmir , in the summer of 1999. After suffering many reverses, the Pakistani Army was ordered to retreat. Some reports suggest that Musharraf retreated after huge pressure on the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from the American President, who feared the conflict could turn into a nuclear catastrophe. However in a recent 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, it was Musharraf who planned the whole operative and sold the idea to Nawaz Sharif. The view that Musharraf wanted to attempt the Kargil infiltrations much earlier was also revealed by Former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto in an interview to a leading daily, where he had supposedly boasted that "he would hoist the flag of Pakistan atop the Srinagar Assembly" if his plan was executed. As the Kargil incident came just after the Lahore Peace Summit earlier that year, Musharraf was viewed with mistrust in India.

In the middle of 2004, Musharraf began a series of talks with India to solve the Kashmir dispute. Both India and Pakistan have the tactical capability to launch nuclear strikes on every city within each others' borders. The two countries are continuing to aggressively increase their nuclear capabilities by actively producing even more nuclear weapons and perfecting their missile technologies by routinely conducting tests of ever more sophisticated missiles.

Current issues up for discussion are;

* 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.

On 26 September 2006 Musharraf appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to promote his new book, In the Line of Fire: A Memoir.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home