Pervez Musharraf (born August 11, 1943), was the twelfth President of Pakistan. Previously, he was Chief Executive of Pakistan as well as former Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army. On 18 August 2008, in a nationally-televised speech, he announced his resignation as President of Pakistan.
He seized power in 1999 by effecting a military coup d'état and has suspended the constitution of Pakistan twice since then. After announcing his intention to combat extremists, Western countries (including the United States and the United Kingdom) have switched from sanctions to active support through military and monetary aid. He took power on October 12, 1999, ousting Nawaz Sharif, the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, dismissed the national and provincial legislative assemblies, assumed the title of Chief Executive and became Pakistan's de facto head of government, thereby becoming the fourth Army chief of Pakistan to have assumed executive control. Later in 2001, Musharraf appointed himself to the office of President of Pakistan.
Pervez Musharraf was born on August 11, 1943 in Nahr wali Haveli, situated in Kacha Saad Ullah Mohallah, Daryaganj in Delhi, British India. He is from a family of civil servants. After Musharraf's grandfather, Qazi Mohtashimuddin, retired as the commissioner of Punjab (British India) he bought Neharwali Haveli in the old walled city of Delhi where Musharraf was born. After partition, Musharraf's family migrated to Pakistan where his father, Syed Musharraf Uddin joined the Pakistan foreign service and later retired as Secretary of foreign affairs. Musharraf's mother, Zarin, received her master's degree from the University of Lucknow in 1944.
Musharraf attended Saint Patrick's School, Karachi, graduating in 1958, later attending Forman Christian College in Lahore. He also participated in a certificate course for media management from Delhi university.He is said to have been good in mathematics during his student days. In sports, he enjoys tennis, swimming and plays bridge. Dahi Phulki, Kheer, and Daal are his favourite foods. Musically, he relishes old songs and popular ghazals and his favorite artistes include Mehdi Hasan, Naheed Akhtar and Mehnaz.
Musharraf's wife Sehba is from Okara, Pakistan. They have a son, Bilal, who was a graduate student at Stanford University and currently works in the Silicon Valley, and a daughter, Ayla Raza, who works as an architect in Karachi. Both children of Musharraf are happily married. He has two grand daughters from Ayla; a grandson and a grand daughter from Bilal.
Legislation affecting Sikhs
There were many positive changes affecting Sikhs during the General's tenure as leader of his country, including Harcharan Singh becoming the first Sikh to serve as an officer in the Army of Pakistan and the appointment of the first Sikh traffic police warden Gulab Singh. New legislation affecting Sikhs include:
- 16 January 2008: Musharraf signs Sikh Marriage Registration Ordinance ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Attorney General (AG) Malik Muhammad Qayyum on Tuesday said the Sikh Marriage Registration Ordinance had been signed by the president and would be promulgated soon, after which Pakistan would be the first country where marriages of Sikhs were registered according to their faith. Even in India, marriages of Sikhs were registered under the Hindu Marriage Act.
- December 27, 2006: Equal rights for all, whether minorities or women President Pervez Musharraf on Monday said that government was proving equal rights to all, whether minorities or women. "Every Pakistani, whether minorities or women, are being provided equal rights in line with the principles of Quaid-i-Azam", he noted. President said this during a brief chat with the female and a Sikh and other cadets of PMA, Kakul, who were mounted guard duty of Mazar-e-Quaid, during his visit here for attendance at Quaid's Mausoleum to offer Fateha on the occasion of 130th birth day anniversary of father of the nation. More....
- March 24, 2006: PM Manmohan Singh's speech on launch of Amritsar – Nankana Sahib Bus Service, Amritsar "I am extremely happy to be here in Amritsar on this very important occasion ogf the launch of a regular bus service between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib. This is indeed a memorable day for Punjab. This is a historic day for the entire Sikh community, both in Punjab and elsewhere. This is a historic day for the Panth. In many ways, it is a historic day for both India and Pakistan." More.....
- 13 May, 2005 Indian minister lauds Pak Punjab govt measures The people of Indian Punjab are grateful to the Pakistan government for resolving the Sikh community's problems and fulfilling the promise made to Indian Punjab Chief Minister.
- Indian provincial minister Hans Raj Josan, who is currently on a visit here, talking to media, lauded measures to make Nankana Sahib a district, and make Nankana town, the birthplace of Sikh spiritual leader Baba Guru Nanak, a model city. He said the Sikh community from all over the world will invest billions of rupees in this model city.
- He also lauded the launching of Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service, and observed that through greater people-to-people contacts and resolving of the smaller issues, we can strengthen ties and build greater confidence between the two countries. More....
- April 2005: Better bilateral relations reached The climatic point in the bilateral relationship was reached in April 2005 when Musharraf declared while on a trip to India that the peace process between the two countries had become irreversible. The eight years under Musharraf have seen tremendous strides in all aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries. Travel between the two countries is more normal now than at any time since the creation of the two countries; buses now ply regularly between Delhi-Lahore, Amritsar-Nankana sahib and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad; train service has been resumed between Rajasthan and Karachi.
- Air services have been expanded to include Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad and now private airlines have been allowed to fly between the two countries. It has become much easier to obtain a visa to travel between the two countries with senior citizens being able to walk across the border. While Sikhs were always allowed to visit their sacred places in Pakistan, the same facility is now being given to Hindus as well to travel to places like Ketas Raj.
- There are frequent visits of cricket teams to each other’s country and the matches are not marred by the hostility that was the hallmark of such matches in earlier years; indeed Shoab Akhtar is as popular in India as in Pakistan and Sachin Tendulkar so in Pakistan. Entertainers from each side are seen in the other country’s television channels, as are political pundits; important media channels in the two countries have permanent correspondents in the other country or send them regularly to cover important events, such as the recent elections in Pakistan. chowk.com Pervez Musharraf and India Pakistan Rapproachment
- November 22, 2002: Sikh yatrees call on Musharraf: ISLAMABAD, Nov 21: President Gen Pervez Musharraf has assured the visiting Sikh Yatrees that the government would improve facilities being provided to them during their stay in Pakistan. He was talking to a delegation of the Sikh Yatrees, who had arrived in Pakistan to participate in the 533rd birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, here on Thursday. The president assured the delegation that he would take necessary action on the proposals put forward by them. The Sikh Yatrees appreciated the arrangements made by the government of Pakistan for their convenience. They also praised the government for good maintenance of Gurdwaras in Pakistan. More.....
- "Meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was "a major breakthrough" in Indo-Pak relations." President Musharraf, September 26, 2004
- "I may forgive a poor who may have suffered because of the state's inability to fulfill his demands but not the rich and still corrupt. The ambitions should not be turned into greed." Address to Punjab Student Convention Dec 31, 2004.
- "I urge that the developed world must act before it is too late and an iron curtain descends between the West and Islam." (Oct 1, 2004)
- "There is a faulty perception among Muslims: that the West is attacking Islam. Muslims must do their part in letting go of the idea that the West is against them. The West too, on its part, is wrong in thinking that Islam as a whole is fundamentalist. This is a clash of civilizations that we must avoid" (Sep 28, 2004).
- "Islam is not in conflict with democracy, modernism or secularism." (January 22, 2004).
In the news
"Be my guest," Indian Sikh tells Musharraf
An Indian Sikh has offered to host former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on his sprawling farm in the state of Punjab after the latter’s resignation. Baldev Haeussler Singh says the former military ruler is a brave man who has origins in India.
Singh has asked Musharraf to be his guest in the face of a move by Pakistan's ruling coalition to impeach him. Singh’s farm comprises 350 acres of cultivated land, well-bred horses, a bungalow and a luxury vehicle.
Singh, who hails from Lohara Kotli village in Ferozepur district of Punjab, told the Daily Times newspaper about his offer for the unpopular military ruler. Musharraf, meanwhile, is yet to announce whether he intends to remain in Pakistan or go abroad.
Asked the reason for his offer, Singh, who described himself as a social activist, said, "Musharraf is a brave man and has his origins in India."
Singh explained that though Pakistani politicians did not hold Musharraf in high esteem, he is popular in India and "all Indians love him because of his straightforward foreign policy".
He said he liked Musharraf for his role in eradicating sectarianism in Pakistan, helping develop its economy and portraying a positive image of the country across the world.
Reports have suggested that the 65-year-old Musharraf will remain in Pakistan for sometime before travelling abroad, possibly to Saudi Arabia.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced Monday that he will resign, just days ahead of impeachment in parliament over attempts by the U.S.-backed leader to impose authoritarian rule on his turbulent nation.
An emotional Musharraf said he wanted to spare Pakistan from a dangerous power struggle.
"I hope the nation and the people will forgive my mistakes," Musharraf said in a televised address largely devoted to defending his record.
Musharraf dominated Pakistan for years after seizing power in a 1999 military coup, making the country a key strategic ally of the U.S. by supporting the war on terror. But his popularity at home sank over the years.
But his influence has faded steadily over the past year. He quit the pivotal post of army chief in November and his resignation was widely forecast.
Washington and European capitals will hope his removal will let the civilian government focus on terrorism and the country's economic woes, though Musharraf's exit could also trigger a struggle to replace him.
Pakistan's stock market and currency both rose strongly on hopes that the country was bound for political stability. Television footage showed groups of people celebrating in the streets in several towns across Pakistan, some of them firing automatic weapons into the sky.
In his hour-long address, Musharraf said he would turn in his resignation to the National Assembly speaker Monday. It was not immediately clear whether it would take effect the same day. Mohammedmian Soomro, the chairman of the upper house of parliament, was poised to take over in the interim.
It remains an open question whom parliament will elect to succeed Musharraf, partly because the ruling coalition has vowed to strip the presidency of much of its power.
There is speculation that both Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, the leaders of the two main parties, are interested in the role. However, neither has openly said so.
It was also unclear whether Musharraf would stay in Pakistan or go into exile.
After inspecting a guard on honor outside his hulking white marble palace in the capital, a pokerfaced Musharraf stepped into a black limousine and left the building — perhaps for the last time.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, head of the main pro-Musharraf party, said Musharraf would live in Islamabad, where he owns a farmhouse on the outskirts.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said leaders of the ruling coalition would discuss later Monday whether to prosecute Musharraf in court on the impeachment charges.
Briefly, his political foes put those issues on the back-burner and got on with celebrating.
"It is a victory of democratic forces," Information Minister Sherry Rehman said. "Today, the shadow of dictatorship that has prevailed for long over this country, that chapter has been closed."
In the northern city of Peshawar, a crowd of people danced to drum beats and embraced at an intersection.
"It is very pleasing to know that Musharraf is no more," said Mohammed Saeed, a shopkeeper among the crowd.
"He even tried to deceive the nation in his last address. He was boasting about economic progress when life for people like us has become a hell," he said, because of economic problems that include runaway inflation.
Many Pakistanis blame the rising militant violence in their country on Musharraf's use of the army against militants nested in the northwest. His reputation suffered fatal blows in 2007 when he ousted dozens of judges and imposed emergency rule. His rivals won February parliamentary elections and have since sought his ouster.
Musharraf, who has been largely sidelined since his rivals came to power, finally yielded after the coalition finalized impeachment charges against him and threatened to send a motion to Parliament later this week.
The charges were expected to include violating the constitution and gross misconduct, likely in connection with the ouster of the judges and the declaration of emergency rule.
A defiant Musharraf, seated in an office between two national flags, listed the many problems facing Pakistan, including its sinking economy and a chronic power shortage. He said his opponents were wrong to blame him for the mounting difficulties and suggested they were going after him to mask their own failings.
"I pray the government stops this downward slide and takes the country out of this crisis," he said.
Allies and rivals of the president said talks had suggested that Musharraf might quit in return for legal immunity from future prosecution.
Sharif's party insists he should be tried for treason, which carries a maximum punishment of death.
"The crimes of Musharraf against the nation, against the judiciary, against democracy and against rule of law in the country cannot be forgiven by any party or individual," its spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said Monday.
Qureshi would not say whether Musharraf might be granted a "safe exit" — speculation has focused on whether he might go into exile in Saudi Arabia or Turkey.
"That is a decision that has to be taken by the democratic leadership," Qureshi, who is from the main ruling Pakistan People's Party, told Dawn News television.
The ruling parties also came under immediate pressure from protesting lawyers to meet a promise to restore the ousted judges — a matter fraught with political calculations because of Sharif's vociferous championing of their cause.
Law Minister Farooq Naek said both the means and the timing of their restoration remained open.
The international response made clear how world leaders had moved on from their reliance on Musharraf to keep his nuclear-armed nation on its current, moderate track.
Nations including British and Germany, who both have troops in Afghanistan and worry about al-Qaida plotting attacks on their soil from havens in Pakistan, urged the civilian government to bolster their security policies as well as Pakistani democracy.
However, the Afghan government, which accuses Pakistan of secretly aiding the Taliban, could not resist a parting shot.
Musharraf "was not someone good for Afghanistan," Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said, accusing him of being an ally of the United States in words only.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman declined to comment after Musharraf's speech, referring calls to Washington.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that while Musharraf had been a "good ally," Washington was supportive of the new government and Musharraf's future was an internal issue.
"Pakistan and the United States have a joint interest in fighting terror," Rice said on Fox News television. "That's what we're concentrating on, that and helping Pakistan to sustain its economy, to build its schools, its health. We have a broad Pakistan policy."
Highlights of Indo-Pak joint statement
At the end of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's three-day visit, he read out a joint statement along with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Monday.
These are the highlights of the joint statement.
1. The President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf and Begum Sehba Musharraf visited New Delhi as guests of the Prime Minister of India and Shrimati Gursharan Kaur on April 16 to 18, 2005.
2. While in New Delhi, the Pakistan president called on the Indian President A P J Kalam. He also met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who hosted a dinner in his honour. The president also watched the last one-day international cricket match between India and Pakistan.
3. The Pakistan president and the Indian PM used the opportunity to review progress in Indo-Pak relations. They assessed positively the progress that had been made so far through confidence building, people-to-people contacts and enhancing areas of interactions. The leaders were determined to build on the momentum already achieved.
4. They reaffirmed the commitments made in the Joint Press Statement of January 6, 2004 and the Joint Statement issued after their meeting in New York on September 24, 2004 and expressed satisfaction on the progress in the peace process and the improvement of relations between the two countries that has since been realised.
5. Conscious of the historic opportunity created by the improved environment in relations and the overwhelming desire of the people of the two countries for durable peace, the two leaders had substantive talks on all issues. They determined that the peace process was now irreversible.
6. In this spirit the two leaders addressed the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to continue these discussions in a sincere and purposeful manner for a final settlement. They were satisfied with the discussions and expressed their determination to work together to carry forward the process and to bring the benefit of peace to their people.
7. They also agreed to pursue further measures to enhance interaction and cooperation across the Line Of Control including agreed meeting points for divided families, trade, pilgrimages and cultural interaction.
8. They condemned attempts to disrupt the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and welcomed its successful operationalisation. The two leaders pledged that they would not allow terrorism to impede the peace process.
9. They decided to increase the frequency of the bus service and also decided that trucks would be allowed to use this route to promote trade. They also agreed to operationalise additional routes, the next being the Poonch-Rawalakot link. They also look forward to early start of the bus service between Amritsar and Lahore and to religious places such as Nankana Sahib.
10. They agreed to re-establish the Khokhrapar-Munnabao route by January 1, 2006.
11. They agreed that the Consulates of the two countries in Mumbai and Karachi respectively would be opened before the end of the current year.
12. They endorsed the decisions taken in the meetings of foreign secretaries of the two countries on December 27-28, 2004, and the foreign ministers on February 15-17, 2005, on the schedule of meetings later in the year, the agreements to be worked upon through these meetings and the measures to be taken to alleviate the situation of prisoners.
13. On the issues of the Sir Creek and Siachen, they instructed that the existing institutional mechanisms should convene discussions immediately with a view to finding mutually acceptable solutions to both issues expeditiously.
14. It was agreed that the Ministers of Petroleum and Natural Gas would meet in May to explore cooperation in the sector including on the issue to pipelines.
15. Both leaders agreed that enhanced economic and commercial cooperation would contribute to the well being of the people of the two countries and bring a higher level of prosperity for the region. The two leading economies of South Asia should work together for the greater prosperity of the region.
16. The leaders decided to reactivate the Joint Economic Commission as early as possible. They also agreed that the Joint Business Council should meet soon.
17. The Pakistan President conveyed his gratitude for the hospitality provided during the visit and invited the Prime Minister to visit Pakistan. The invitation was accepted in principle. Mutually agreed dates would be worked out through diplomatic channels.
- See Wikipedia article on Pervez Musharraf for more information
- Gurdwaras in Pakistan
- Harcharan Singh Twenty one year old Harcharan Singh has become Pakistan's first Sikh army officer
- Sikhism in Pakistan
- First Sikh officer in Pakistan Army
- Sikh Pilgrimage to Pakistan
- Gurudwaras In Pakistan (Pictorial View)
- Pakistan - Birth and objectives
- bbc.co.uk In pictures: Musharraf in India
- pmindia.nic.in Photographs
- ft.com Picture timeline: Musharraf’s political career
- pakistantimes.net India-Pak Chamber welcomes Musharraf-Singh joint Statement