Musharraf’s legacy

President General Pervez Musharraf lived an accomplished civil and military life

February 06, 2023


President General Pervez Musharraf lived an accomplished civil and military life. He passed away slowly in Dubai, at the age of 79, after fighting an illness that was perhaps undefeatable. General Musharraf rose to the highest echelons of his career in the military, and led from the front in the 1965 and 1971 wars as an SSG Commando. He was picked up as Army Staff by superseding many of his seniors, as is our political convention, by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But as fate would have it, Sharif was deposed in a bloodless coup by Musharraf, as his men in uniform held the fort in all discipline of military rituals by refusing to accept their chief’s impromptu dismissal. The rest is history, as Musharraf held the reins of power for almost a decade.

He was a man of action and believed in advocating the positive side of Pakistan. That was why his political slogan was ‘Pakistan First’. He will long be remembered as a hero and a villain for his role in Kargil’s 1999 warfare with India. This was why he was contested closely at home and abroad. Though he managed to create a political legacy of his own by knitting forces as diverse as the MQM and the MMA of JUI-F, as well as the PMLQ and the dissidents of PPP, he was a half success in the nomenclature of a self-served political icon. But his first three years of technocratic rule are regarded as the best era of Pakistan. Notwithstanding the credentials of a dictator, he was the first who gave a free media policy and fathered the mushrooming of electronic media in Pakistan.

Musharraf was a controversial figure as far as his way of politics was concerned. His biggest slip was acting against the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, which kick-started a storm of protests that ultimately led to his phased-out dismissal from Presidency. His role in the wake of 9/11 attacks by siding with the US and fighting a long-drawn war is his legacy. As a passionate advocate of Pakistan’s tangibles, Pervez Musharraf was a show stopper when it came to defending national interests. May he Rest in Peace!

Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2023.

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