UN chief morns ex-Pakistani President


By Aluta News

Feb. 6, 2023

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday expressed sadness over the passing of the former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf died in Dubai after a prolonged illness at Dubai American Hospital, according to a statement from the Pakistani military. He was 79 years old.

Guterres, in a statement by his spokesperson, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, conveyed his deepest condolences to the family of the former President and the people of Pakistan.

He said the former president Musharraf led Pakistan at a critical time, during which the country witnessed steady economic growth.

The former leader, who had been living in self-imposed exile in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates since 2016, seized power from former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif — Shehbaz Sharif’s older brother –in a military coup in 1999 and appointed himself president in 2001, while remaining head of the army.

He continued to lead Pakistan as president until 2008.

Musharraf became a key ally of the United States following the 9/11 terror attacks, and he tried to become an indispensable figure in combating Islamic extremism.

But his time in power was marred with controversy and he was accused of widespread human rights abuses and oppression.

His term was punctuated by two failed assassination attempts in 2003. In November 2007, he declared a state of emergency, suspended Pakistan’s constitution, replaced the chief judge and blacked out independent TV outlets.

Musharraf said he did so to stabilise the country and to fight rising Islamist extremism. The action drew sharp criticism from the United States and democracy advocates. Pakistanis openly called for his removal.

Under pressure from the West, Musharraf later lifted the state of emergency and called elections, held in February 2008, in which his party fared badly.

He stepped down in August 2008 after the governing coalition began taking steps to impeach him.

Musharraf then went into exile but returned to Pakistan in 2013 with the aim of running in the country’s national elections. Instead, his plans unraveled as he became entangled in a web of court cases relating to his time in power.

In 2019, he was sentenced to death in absentia for high treason. The ruling was later overturned.

Musharraf had been living in Dubai since March 2016, when Pakistan’s Supreme Court lifted a travel ban, allowing him to leave the country to seek medical treatment there.