Musharraf — life, military and politics

LAHORE: General (r) Pervez Musharraf resigned from the office of president on Monday to avoid looming impeachment.

He was born on August 11, 1943, in Neharwali Haveli in Delhi. Musharraf’s father Syed Musharrafuddin served in the Foreign Services of Pakistan and retired as the Foreign Affairs secretary. A graduate of the University of Lucknow, Musharraf’s mother Zarin Musharraf served at a United Nations agency. Musharraf completed his early education from the Saint Patrick’s School in Karachi and later studied at the Forman Christian College, Lahore.

The former army chief’s family consists of his wife Sehba Musharraf, son Bilal Musharraf and daughter Ayla Raza. A graduate of the Stanford University, Bilal is a chartered accountant, who is settled in Boston, while Ayla is an architect, who works in Karachi. Musharraf joined the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul in 1961 and was commissioned in 1964 in the 16 Self Propelled (SP) Artillery Unit. Later, he volunteered to join the Special Services Group (SSG) and was posted to the Field Artillery Regiments.

A graduate of the Staff College, Quetta, and National Defence College, Rawalpindi, he also studied at the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom and won distinctions. He saw his first action in the 1965 Indo-Pak war in Khem Karan as a second lieutenant in the 16 SP Field Artillery Regiment at the Lahore and Sialkot sectors and was awarded a gallantry award.

As a Brigadier, he commanded an infantry brigade as well as artillery division. Musharraf was given the command of an infantry division when he was made Major General on January 15, 1991. Musharraf also served as the Military Operations director general at the General Headquarters (GHQ). On promotion to the rank of major general on January 15, 1991, he was assigned the command of an infantry division. He served as director general military operations from 1993 to 1995. 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 promoted as the chief of army staff (COAS).

When the Kargil war started in 1999, Musharraf was the chief of the army staff and he was widely criticised for ill-planning of the war. Musharraf came into power on October 12, 1999 after ousting Nawaz in a bloodless coup. Musharraf held a referendum on April 30, 2002 to extend the presidential term to five years after the October elections.

The polls were held in October 2002 and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) won most seats. Things however went wrong after March 9, 2007, when he suspended then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry along with 60 other senior judges, followed by an army operation at Lal Masjid and the re-exile of former premier Nawaz. afnan khan/agencies

Courtesy: Daily Times, 19/8/2008

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