General Pervez Musharraf, the second of three brothers, was born in Delhi on August 11, 1943. His parents chose to settle in Karachi after the formation of Pakistan. He comes from a middle class family. His father, Syed Musharraf-ud-din, was a member of the Pakistani Foreign Service and later, retired as secretary of foreign affairs. His mother, Zarin, worked for the United Nations Organization. Shortly after the India-Pakistan division in 1947, Syed moved his wife and three children, Musharraf, older son Javed, and youngest son, Naved from Old Delhi, India, to Pakistan.
He spent his early years in Turkey, from 1949 to 1956, due to his father, the late Syed Musharraf-ud-din deputation in Ankara. Fluently he can talk in Turkish language and claims that Kamal Ataturk is his hero. Later the family moved back to Pakistan, and Musharraf attended St. Patrick's School in Karachi and graduated in 1958. He later attended Forman Christian (FC) College in Lahore and was said to be a good math student. In 1961, Musharraf attended the Pakistan Military Academy and graduated 11th in his class. He was commissioned in April 1964 to an artillery regiment and later joined the Special Service Group. Musharraf continued his military education at the Command and Staff College and the National Defense College in Pakistan. He also attended the Royal College of Defense Studies in the United Kingdom. In 1965, he was charged with taking not permitted leave and was about to be court-martialed when war broke out with India. The charges were dropped and Musharraf reported for duty.
Musharraf was commanding an artillery brigade. In the 1990s, he was promoted to major general and assigned an infantry division and later commanded an elite strike force. Later he served as deputy military secretary and director general of military operations. As his rank and notoriety rose, Musharraf was also making inroads in the political arena. In 1998, he was personally promoted over other senior officers by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to be the Army chief of staff and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
From May to July 1999, Pakistan and India took up arms once again in what became known as the Kargil Conflict in the Kashmir area along the northern borders of India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Sharif claimed Pervez Musharraf was solely responsible for the Kargil misfortune while Musharraf claimed Sharif was to blame. In any case, the incident was a total embarrassment for Pakistan.
Prime Minister Sharif claimed Pervez Musharraf was solely responsible for the Kargil misfortune while Musharraf claimed Sharif was to blame. In any case, the incident was a total embarrassment for Pakistan, not to mention a loss of prestige, morale, blood and treasure. On October 12, 1999, Sharif attempted to dismiss Musharraf from his position as commander-in-chief of the Army, but senior Army generals, loyal to Musharraf and believing the prime minister was distancing himself from any responsibility for the military defeat, refused to accept Musharraf dismissal. Musharraf was out of the country, but when word reached him of Sharif's orders, he immediately boarded a commercial airliner for Pakistan. Sharif ordered the Karachi airport closed to prevent Musharraf plane from landing. The generals seized control of Sharif's administration and placed Sharif under house arrest. He was later exiled to Saudi Arabia. Musharraf arrived at the capital and took control of the government. The sitting president of Pakistan, Rafiq Tarrar, remained in office until June 2001, at which time Musharraf formally appointed himself president.
The United States required Pervez Musharraf support, promising to provide billions in aid to Pakistan and applying heavy pressure to break diplomatic ties with Afghanistan and join the "war on terror". Ultimately he agreed to join the U.S.A in order to stable the economic condition of Pakistan. Shortly after Musharraf seizing of the government in 1999, several Pakistanis filed court petitions challenging his assumption of power. Musharraf had always claimed his intention was to institute democracy in Pakistan.
The Pakistani Supreme Court asked Musharraf to hold national elections by October 12, 2002. To ensure his continued control, Musharraf held a referendum on April 30, 2002, to extend his term of office another five years after the October elections. But opposition parties and coalitions formed against Musharraf, and the Parliament was virtually paralyzed for over a year. In November 2003, Musharraf agreed to hand certain powers over to the newly elected Parliament. The National Assembly elected Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as prime minister.
Musharraf was reelected in October 2007, but the election was contested by a number of judges because he still held the dual positions of army chief and head of state. Musharraf had several of the judges arrested, suspended the constitution, and declared a state of emergency, shutting down all private media channels. On November 24, 2007, the Pakistan Election Commission confirmed the reelection of Pervez Musharraf as president. Musharraf resigned from the military on November 28, 2007, thus releasing some of the pressure and continuing what seems to be a "passive-aggressive" pattern of political strategy to stay in control with as much power as he can garner respectfully.
On March 22, 2008, the Pakistan People's Party named ex-Parliament Speaker Syad Yousaf Raza Gillani as its candidate for prime minister to lead a federation government against Musharraf. At first Musharraf resisted, saying he would defeat those who tried to push him out of office. On August 18, 2008, however, Pervez Musharraf resigned from the post of president in response to the coalition government's threat of trial. It is believed that, had the allegation taken place, he would have faced corruption and possibly murder charges. The departure of the former general set off wild celebrations in Pakistan. After his resignation, Musharraf went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and has made a few public-speaking appearances in the United States. He has said that he would like once again to participate in Pakistani politics but has no plans for the abrupt future.
The ending of Pervez Musharraf time as leader of Pakistan is a mixed one. He did much to improve Pakistan's financial condition, making it the world's third-fastest-growing economy in 2006 and a preferred country for investment. His policies and alliances helped Pakistan significantly reduce its foreign debt and reduce poverty, and they set the country on a path of prosperity, growth, and economic reform. He married Begum Sehba in 1968. They have two children, Ayla and Bilal, and four grandchildren: two granddaughters from Ayla and a grandson and a granddaughter from Bilal. Ayla works as an architect in Karachi. Bilal is a graduate from Stanford University and works in the United States, in Silicon Valley.