Pervez Musharraf, who served as Pakistan’s president from 2001 to 2008 after leading a bloodless coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999, as a result of which the country was excluded from the Commonwealth, has died. of the British Empire.
Musharraf was 79 years old and in his years as president he had led Pakistan in a dictatorial way, with great centralization of powers, electoral fraud and corruption. He tried with difficulty to always maintain good relations with the West based on guarantees of the fight against terrorism and Islamic extremism. After the attacks of September 11, 2001 he sided in favor of the “war on terrorism” undertaken by the United States, while however mediating that position with the pressures of those who criticized him for that alliance.
He had been the political rival of Benazir Bhutto, who was the first and only woman to become Pakistan’s prime minister in the 1990s. Bhutto was killed in a 2007 assassination attempt after she returned from a long exile to run in the 2008 elections.
Musharraf left Pakistan after losing that election, amid many scandals and major problems for the country. He returned in 2013 to run for a general election but was arrested a few weeks later. Charges against him were formalized that same year, but in 2016 he was allowed to return on medical grounds to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he died following a long illness.
In December 2019 he was sentenced to death in absentia for high treason, on various charges relating to his years in power. In January 2020, however, the Lahore High Court canceled the sentence, deeming it unconstitutional, because it came at the end of an irregular judicial proceeding.