Musharraf (1943-), President General Pervez
Promoted General and appointed Chief of Army Staff in 1998, then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff the following year, he deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who attempted to remove him in a bloodless military coup on October 12, 1999. On June 20, 2001, he appointed himself President on the basis of a nation-wide referendum which legitimacy, however, remains highly controversial. In 2002, a controversial national election extended his rule for five years. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, the United States sought Musharraf’s support to oust the Taliban regime from Afghanistan. Musharraf’s decision to align with the United States in their “War on Terror”, to supply with logistical support for the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, to crack down militant Islamist organizations in Pakistan, to halt the proxy war in Indian-held Kashmir in 2004, and to launch military operations in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West frontier Province (NWFP) since 2004, contributed to strongly alienate the Islamist groups. Musharraf’s ambivalent attitude towards the United States and the Jehadi groups has proved at least inconclusive as violence never ceased to increase since 2001. The situation in Baluchistan since 2003 also never stopped to worsen, though Musharraf refuses to acknowledge the fact that a military operation is going on in the province, as the only option used is State repression. Musharraf’s unconstitutional dismissal of Chief of Justice Iftikhar Chaudry in March, 2007, threatened to throw the country into crisis. Musharraf was compelled to re-instate him after an adverse ruling of the Supreme Court but then later declared a nation-wide state of emergency in November 2007, to make his controversial presidential re-election pass. Forced to accept the power-sharing deal with Benazir Bhutto promoted by the United States, he allowed her to come back and cleared her of all charges. When Bhutto was killed a couple of months later after her return, some PPP leaders accused Musharraf of not having sufficiently protected her.