General Pervez Musharraf, Indian Airforce

President General Pervez Musharraf

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is only the second Mohajir to have been appointed the Chief of Army Staff in Pakistan's history. Needless to say, he is the first Mohajir military ruler of Pakistan.

Pervez Musharraf, the second of three brothers, was born to an educated Syed family on August 11, 1943 in Delhi. After the creation of Pakistan the family chose to settle in Karachi. His family left India by train- one of the last trains to safely leave before the bloody communal riots broke out. His father, the late Syed Musharaff-ud-Din a career diplomat retired in 1974 while his mother successfully devoted her time between caring for her family and serving the International Labour Organization, retired in 1987.

Exodus following partition

The General had the opportunity of spending his early life (1949-1956) in Turkey and can, consequently, converse fluently in Turkish language. General Musharraf attended renowned Educational Institutions of Pakistan like Saint Patrick’s High School, Karachi and Forman Christian Collage, Lahore. He joined the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961 and was commissioned in an elite Artillery Regiment in 1964. He saw action in 1965 war as a young officer in the Khem Karan, Lahore and Sialkot Sectors with a self propelled Artillery Regiment. He was awarded Imtiazi Sanad for gallantry. He later volunteered and served for seven years in the Special Service Group "Commandos". As a promising young Captain, he got married to Sehba Musharraf on 28th December 1968.

Musharraf with wife and granddaughter

General Musharraf later participated in the 1971 war as Company Commander in a Commando Battalion. He has the privilege of commanding two self-propelled Artillery Regiments. As a Brigadier, he had the distinction of commanding an Infantry Brigade as well as Armoured Division Artillery. On promotion to the rank of Major General on 15th January 1991, he was given the command of an Infantry Division and later of a prestigious strike Corps as Lieutenant General on 21st October 1995.

He is a graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, has done the armed forces war course and also the Royal College of Defence Studies from the U.K. He has also been on the faculty of the Command and Staff College, Quetta and the war wing of (the) National Defence College. General Musharraf has served on various important staff and instructional appointments during his career. The General held staff appointments as Brigade Major in an infantry brigade. Deputy Director, Military Operations, Deputy Military Secretary and Director-General, Military Operations. He is a recipient of several medals - the Imitiaz Sanad in the 1965 war, the Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) and the Tamgha-i-Basalat.

General Pervez Musharraf was promoted to the rank of General on 7th October 1998 and appointed Chief of Army Staff. He was given the additional charge of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee on 9th April 1999. In May 1999, General Pervez Musharraf's forces engaged India in a bloody war in Kargil. On July 12, 1999, Musharraf's forces are ordered to retreat by Pakistani P.M. Nawaz Sharif. The humiliating retreat causes friction between the General and Sharif.

Pakistani soldiers scale the gates of PTV headquarters in Islamabad before taking control.

On October 12, 1999, Sharif sacked Gen. Musharraf, publicly on PTV. He then prevented the plane carrying the general back from Sri Lanka from landing in Pakistan. Musharraf struck back swiftly. He staged a military coup, deposed Sharif and took over as the Chief Executive of Pakistan.

On April 6, 2000, Sharif was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of hijacking Musharraf's aircraft, he was acquitted of conspiracy to murder him. He was later expelled to the Middle-East.

On June 20, 2001, in a swift operation ahead of the crucial Agra summit in India, Gen. Pervez Musharraf donned the mantle of the President of Pakistan. He then held the dual posts of President, Chief Executive and Army Chief.

President Pervez Musharraf with wife at the Taj Mahal, Agra.

On July 14-16, 2001, President Pervez Musharraf visited India for a landmark summit in Agra. Musharraf discussed bilateral relations and their nuclear rivalry with Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee. But initial optimism waned and the talks ended without agreement, with the long-running dispute over Kashmir seen as the main reason for the deadlock.

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