Pervez Musharraf: A Controversial Figure in Pakistan’s History

  • Pervez Musharraf was a former military dictator and president of Pakistan, who was a controversial figure throughout his career. This article delves into his rise to power, his controversial decisions, and his impact on Pakistani politics and society. With keywords such as “Pakistan”, “controversial”, and “history”, this article provides valuable insights into one of the most significant figures in Pakistani history. Read on to learn more about the life and career of Pervez Musharraf.

Controversial former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf died on February 5, 2023 at the age of 79. Musharraf was born in the army and is an “anti-India” “hardliner”. His whole life can be described as “India’s success and India’s failure”. He participated in the war against India in his early years and made great military achievements, and later became the supreme military leader. He was also dismissed by the Prime Minister for launching the “Kargil Conflict”, which almost triggered an all-out war between India and Pakistan. In desperation, he launched a coup and seized the highest power in the country.
After becoming president, the “9.11” incident happened. He withstood the pressure of “conservatives” to maintain the Pakistan-US ally relationship, and actively expanded relations with Russia and China, striving for a broader geopolitical game space for Pakistan. . In 2008, President Bush, with whom he was very close, was about to leave office. He was also impeached soon and forced to resign. He called himself a “war strongman longing for peace”, and it was the power game between Pakistan’s domestic political family and the army that created his ups and downs in his life.
Musharraf was born in a middle-class family in Delhi, India in 1943. When he was four years old, his family moved to Pakistan due to the “Partition of India and Pakistan”. His father, Syed Musharraf Uddin, was a middle-level bureaucrat in Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and his mother was a typist and teacher who worked in customs.
In 1949, because his father was sent to work in the Pakistani embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Musharraf lived in Turkey for seven years, not only proficient in Turkish, but also deeply influenced by Kemal. He also aspired to become a soldier because he often saw imposing military officers in uniforms in the embassy.
After returning to Pakistan, Musharraf studied at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic School in Karachi and at Forman Christian College in Lahore. Influenced by Western church schools, Musharraf’s thinking is more enlightened.
Early Musharraf had a distinct anti-India tendency. His earliest memory is that after the independence of Pakistan in 1947, tens of thousands of Muslims were displaced during the “Partition of India and Pakistan”. After being forced to move to Pakistan, he became a minority and “outsider” in society. The identity of an “outsider” strengthened its “anti-India” nationalist sentiment.
In 1961, at the age of 18, Musharraf entered the Pakistan Military Academy to study. After graduation, he was appointed as a second lieutenant in the artillery regiment and stationed on the border between India and Pakistan. In 1965, he participated in the large-scale war against India. After that, he joined the Army’s elite special forces, was promoted successively to captain and major, and gradually became a star officer. He once taught at the Command and Staff College and the War Department of the National Defense University, and successively served in many important positions in the army. He has the reputation of “a tough guy you dare not provoke”. In 1998, Musharraf was promoted to general and served as chief of staff of the army, becoming a powerful figure in the Pakistani military.
As a “tough guy in the army” with a strong “anti-India” complex, Musharraf’s first major move as a military leader was to order the troops to secretly infiltrate the Kargil area of ​​Kashmir, but India launched a violent attack after discovering the infiltration of the Pakistani army. Offensive, the Kargil conflict narrowly escalated into an all-out war between the two countries. Under international pressure, civilian officials led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed the government was ignorant of the Kargil conflict and withdrew support for border forces. This move caused dissatisfaction with the army and also led to a break between Musharraf and Sharif.
After a successful coup d’etat, Musharraf officially became president in June 2001, and continued to serve as the chief of staff of the army. He also became the president who combined the highest military and administrative powers.
Powerful politics prevails in Pakistan, and political tyrants bribe elections before elections, leading to widespread corruption. Musharraf was popular with the people at the beginning of seizing power, and was regarded as a political strongman fighting corruption and elite politics. He is also a master of “tightrope walking”, properly balancing the needs of the United States in counter-terrorism, and trying to avoid triggering internal conflicts. He was able to win re-election after the war in Afghanistan and actually managed Pakistan for many years, which is enough to demonstrate his political skill and ability. He also called on “the West, and especially the United States, to seek a just solution to all political disputes.” The “enlightened and moderate” concept advocated by Musharraf has been welcomed by the Western world.
After the outbreak of the “9.11” incident, Musharraf judged the situation and supported the US anti-terrorist actions. Pakistan has benefited a lot from this policy change. It not only broke its diplomatic isolation, but also received economic assistance from the United States to get out of its economic difficulties.
Because Musharraf came to power through a military coup, he had deep grievances with the Sharif family, and after taking power, he insisted on being close to the United States, which caused the hatred of “extremists”, and his popularity declined day by day. In 2007, opposition to Musharraf emerged in Pakistan. Finally, under the pressure of all parties, Musharraf stepped down in 2008 and began his life in exile.

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