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Pervez Musharraf

Pervez MusharrafPervez Musharraf was the tenth President of Pakistan and led a military government. Pervez Musharraf was born on August 11, 1943 in Daryaganj Delhi, British India. He is the second of three brothers. Musharraf stems from the family of Politicians, His Grandfather Qazi Mohtashimuddin, retired as the Deputy Collector of Revenue based in Delhi, British India. After Independence, Musharraf’s family migrated to Pakistan where his father, Syed Musharraf Uddin — a graduate of Aligarh University — joined the Pakistan Foreign Office as an Accountant, and ultimately retired as a Director. He spent his early years in Turkey, from 1949 to 1956, owing to his father deputation in Ankara. Musharraf can fluently converse in Turkish language and claims that Kamal Ataturk is his hero.

Musharraf’s mother, Zarin, received her master’s degree from the University of Lucknow in 1944 and supplemented the recently immigrated family’s income to support the education of her children. She retired from a United Nations agency in Islamabad.

Musharraf attended Saint Patrick’s School, Karachi, graduating in 1958, later attending Forman Christian College in Lahore. In 1961, he joined the Pakistan Military Academy and was commissioned in Artillery Regiment in 1964. He fought in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 as a young officer, and was awarded Imtiazi Sanad for gallantry. He also achieved the Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) and the Tamgha-i-Basalat. He has been also on the faculty of the Command and Staff College, Quetta and the war wing of the National Defence College. He also participated in the Indo-Pak War of 1971 as a Company Commander in the Commando Battalion. He is a graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and the National Defence College, Rawalpindi, Musharraf is also a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies of the United Kingdom. He also served as Director General Military Operations at the General Headquarters from 1993 to 1995.

Pervez Musharraf rose to the rank of General and was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff on October 7, 1998 when Pakistan’s army chief, General Jehangir Karamat, resigned two days after calling for the army to be given a key role in the country’s decision-making process. General Musharraf was given additional charge of Chairman Joint Chiefs Staff Committee on April 9, 1999. He took power on 12 October 1999 through a bloodless military coup d’état on the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He assumed the office of President of Pakistan on June 20, 2001. In order to legitimize and legalize his rule, General Pervez Musharraf held a referendum on April 30, 2002 thereby elected as President of Pakistan for duration of five years. Pervez Musharraf resigned from the Army on 28 November 2007 in an attempt to regularize his position as President.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Musharraf allied with the United States against the Taliban government in Afghanistan. He was a pro-U.S. ally in the War on Terror. He was credited with the development of Pakistan’s economy during the early years of his rule. When Musharraf came to power in 1999, he claimed that the corruption in the government bureaucracy would be cleaned up. In 2001, according to a survey conducted by Transparency International, Pakistan was ranked as the world’s 11th most corrupt nation. However, by 2002 Pakistan’s rating had improved 13 places within the year, to be ranked 24th. By 2007, Pakistan was ranked 138th out of 179 countries, placing it as the 41st most corrupt country in 2007. Overall, under Musharraf’s regime, Pakistan’s rating improved by 30 places.

Pervez Musharraf’s popularity suffered after his suspension of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the Lal Masjid siege. He was highly critized by Women and Human rights activists on Women’s Protection Bill and Rape Cases(Pakistani physician, Dr. Shazia Khalid and Mukhtaran Mai). His attempt to institute emergency rule failed as calls for his impeachment escalated. The arrival of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif fast-tracked a return to democracy ending Musharraf’s military rule.

In 2000 Kamran Atif, an alleged member of Harkat-ul Mujahideen al-Alami, tried to assassinate Musharraf. Atif was sentenced to death in 2006 by an Anti Terrorism Court. On 14 December 2003, 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. On 25 December 2003, two suicide bombers tried to assassinate Musharraf, but their car bombs failed to kill him, 16 others died instead. Musharraf escaped with only a cracked windscreen on his car. Amjad Farooqi was an alleged mastermind behind these attempts, and was killed by Pakistani forces in 2004 after an extensive manhunt. On 6 July 2007, there was another attempted assassination, when an unknown group fired a 7.62 submachine gun at Musharraf’s plane as it took off from a runway in Rawalpindi.

Musharraf got married in 1968 to Sehba, who is from Okara. They have a daughter, Ayla, and a son, Bilal. He is a natural sportsman, who loves to spend most of his leisure time playing Squash, Badminton or Golf. He also takes keen interest in water sports and has been an enthusiastic canoeist. Being an avid reader, he is well versed in Military History, his favorite subject.He currently lives in London and has vowed to return for the next election.

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