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Pervez Musharraf

Musharraf, Pervez (pĕrvāsˈ mōshärˈrŭf) [key], 1943–, Pakistani army officer, president of Pakistan (2001–), b. Delhi. After the partition of British India, his family resettled in Karachi, Pakistan; he spent (1949–56) some of his childhood in Turkey, where his father was posted as a diplomat. He entered the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961 and became (1964) an artillery officer, rising through the ranks to major general (1991), lieutenant general (1995), and general and chief of army staff (1998). In 1999 he became chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee.

In Oct., 1999, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attempted to remove Musharraf by refusing his returning flight landing rights in Pakistan. The move led to a coup by Musharraf, who became chief executive; he appointed himself president 20 months later. A controversial referendum in 2002 extended his rule for five years. Musharraf was reelected in 2007, but his right to run while still army chief was challenged; before the supreme court could rule, he suspended the constitution, declared emergency rule, and dismissed the court members who seemed likely to rule against him. After the challenges were dismissed, he resigned (Nov., 2007) as army chief.

The subsequent election victory (Feb., 2008) by opposition parties and the establishment of an opposition coalition government undermined his position, and after the coalition, at the instigation of Sharif, moved to impeach him, he resigned from office (Aug., 2008). A declared supporter of a democratic, nonfundamentalist Islamic Pakistan and a supporter as well of the U.S. war on terror, Musharraf twice was the target of assassination attempts while president. After resigning, he went into self-imposed exile in 2009 and did not return to Pakistan until 2013; he was then disqualified from running for office. He since has been charged with treason and in connection with Benazir Bhutto's assassination and other deaths and actions.

See his memoirs (2006).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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