Musharraf remains the longest-serving president of Pakistan after taking power in a coup d'etat in 1999, but was forced to resign following his impeachment in 2008.

Musharraf was a close US ally in the war against Al Qaida following September 11.
Musharraf was a close US ally in the war against Al Qaida following September 11. (AP)

Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf has died at the age of 79 following a prolonged illness at an American hospital in Dubai after years in self-imposed exile.

Pakistan's military and the country's mission in the United Arab Emirates announced on Sunday the death of the former army chief, who was pushed from power in 2008.

"I can confirm that he passed away this morning," Shazia Siraj, spokesperson for Pakistan's consulate in Dubai and embassy in Abu Dhabi, told Reuters.

Senior military chiefs "express heartfelt condolences on sad demise of General Pervez Musharraf", a brief statement released by the military's media wing said.

"May Allah bless the departed soul and give strength to bereaved family."

Musharraf’s family announced in June 2022 that he had been hospitalised for weeks while suffering from amyloidosis, an incurable condition that sees proteins build up in the body’s organs.

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Longest-serving president

The former four-star general, born on August 11, 1943 in Delhi, British-ruled India, seized power of Pakistan in a bloodless coup in 1999 and was elected as the president through a referendum in 2002. 

He oversaw rapid economic growth and attempted to usher in socially liberal values in the conservative country. He remains the longest-serving president of Pakistan.

Musharraf aligned with the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks, earning international praise for trying to tackle Taliban and Al Qaeda militants.

Then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell has told Musharraf that Pakistan would either be “with us or against us.” Musharraf said another American official threatened to bomb Pakistan ”back into the Stone Age” if it chose the latter. 

Following the allyship agreement, Pakistan became a crucial transit point for NATO supplies headed to landlocked Afghanistan. 

Musharraf enjoyed strong support for many years, his greatest threat Al Qaeda and other militant groups who tried to kill him at least three times.

His heavy-handed use of the military to quell dissent as well as his continued backing of the United States in its fight against Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban ultimately led to his downfall.

Following a movement led by the ruling coalition government to impeach Musharraf, he resigned as the president on August 18, 2008.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies