Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf died in a Dubai hospital after a long illness at the age of 79. The army made it known. The senior military leaders “express their heartfelt condolences on the sad passing of General Pervez Musharraf”, reads a brief statement. He was president from 2001 to 2008.
Musharraf had come to power in a coup (in 1999) which overthrew the government of Nawaz Sharif. In 2008 he resigned to avoid impeachment. He has since spent most of his time in self-imposed exile in the UK and the Middle East, recalls the Guardian. Musharraf was a key US ally in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, his time in power becoming notorious for oppression and rampant human rights abuses, especially in recent years. In 2007 he suspended the constitution, imposed martial law, dismissed the chief justice of the supreme court and arrested activists and lawyers, causing mass protests. After stepping down in 2008, Musharraf returned from self-imposed exile in March 2013 in an attempt to contest a seat in that year’s general election. High treason lawsuits against him began in 2014, but in 2016, Musharraf was allowed to leave the country on medical grounds. In 2019, he was found guilty of treason for suspending the constitution and imposing a state of emergency in 2007. He was sentenced to death. The sentence was later overturned.